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Judge again denies appeal of federal death row inmate

FILE - In this Oct. 31 1997, file photo Danny Lee waits for his arraignment hearing for the 1996 murders of an Arkansas family in Russellville, Ark. Lee wants to get a new trial in his 1999 conviction and death sentence. Attorneys for Lee said in documents filed Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, in federal court in Little Rock that prosecutors illegally failed to tell defense attorneys that a witness who testified that Lee admitted to the murders also told investigators he believed Lee was lying. (Dan Pierce /The Courier via AP, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.  — A federal judge in Little Rock has again denied an Oklahoma man’s request for a new trial following his 1999 federal murder conviction and death sentence in Arkansas.

The request by Danny Lee to overturn his conviction in the deaths of gun dealer William Mueller, his wife and her 8-year-old daughter, and stealing guns and cash in a plot to establish a whites-only nation in the Pacific Northwest was rejected Tuesday.

Judge Leon Holmes wrote that Lee “provided no convincing argument” to overturn his previous ruling, which says he doesn’t have jurisdiction while noting that evidence presented by attorneys “is reasonably likely” to have led to a different sentence.

Tuesday’s ruling also says Lee still must have federal appeals court authorization to appeal because of his previous appeals.

Lee and Chevie Kehoe, 45, of Colville, Washington, were convicted of killing gun dealer William Mueller, his wife Nancy Mueller and her 8-year-old daughter, Sarah Powell, of Russellville in 1996 and stealing guns and cash as part of the plot to set up a whites-only nation.

Kehoe, described by federal prosecutors at the time as the leader of the plot, was sentenced to life without parole days before Lee was sentenced.

Prosecutors, seeking the death penalty for both men, at the time described Kehoe as the ringleader and Lee as his henchman.

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