Federal government to resume capital punishment; inmate convicted in Arkansas set to die

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)

(CNN) — Attorney General William Barr directed the the federal government Thursday to resume capital punishment after nearly two decades and has directed the Bureau of Prisons to schedule the execution of five inmates after adopting an updated execution protocol.

Barr has directed the head of the Bureau of Prisons to execute “five death-row inmates convicted of murdering, and in some cases torturing and raping, the most vulnerable in our society — children and the elderly,” according to a statement from the Department of Justice.

At Barr’s direction, the Bureau of Prisons has adopted the Federal Execution Protocol Addendum which “replaces the three-drug procedure previously used in federal executions with a single drug—pentobarbital,” the Justice Department announced.

One of the five inmates on the list was on Oklahoma man convicted in the Eastern District of Arkansas in 1999.

Daniel Lewis Lee, a member of a white supremacist group, murdered a family of three, including an eight-year-old girl, the DOJ said. After robbing and shooting
the victims with a stun gun, Lee covered their heads with plastic bags, sealed the bags with duct tape, weighed down each victim with rocks, and threw the family of three into the Illinois bayou. On May 4, 1999, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas found Lee guilty of numerous offenses, including three counts of murder in aid of racketeering, and he was sentenced to death. Lee’s execution is scheduled to occur on Dec. 9, 2019.

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