Yukon man executed for role in triple murder

A former Yukon resident was executed early Tuesday for his role in the 1996 torture and murder of a family in Arkansas.
Daniel Lee Lewis was put to death at 7:08 a.m. at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.
His death came almost 24 hours after a federal judge in Washington, D.C., had halted the execution.
However, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in early Tuesday, clearing the way for the execution to proceed.
Lewis is the first person executed by the U.S. government since 2003.
Fox News reported that Lee, a white supremacist, continued to deny his involvement in the deaths of William Mueller, his wife Nancy and her daughter, Sara Powell, who was 8.
“I didn’t do it. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, but I am not a murderer,” Lee told witnesses Tuesday. “You are killing an innocent man.”
Lee was executed in the same place where Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, died by lethal injection on June 11, 2001.
On Monday, it appeared Lee would not be executed after Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan issued a stay, allowing Lee’s attorneys to continue the appeals process.
In her order, Chutkan cited concerns that the lethal injection process is “very likely to cause extreme pain and needless suffering.”
“The district court’s injunction ensures that the courts will have the opportunity to carefully address those issues,” she wrote.
However, Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court found otherwise.
“The government has produced competing expert testimony of its own, indicating that any pulmonary edema occurs only after the prisoner has died or been rendered fully insensate,” the court wrote.
Lee was a member of a white supremacist group when he murdered the family during a robbery.
According to court records, Lee robbed the couple of guns and more than $50,000 in cash.
The victims were then shot with a stun gun. Their heads were covered with plastic bags, sealed with duct tape, weighed down with rocks and thrown into the Illinois bayou.
Their bodies were not found for more than five months.
Lee was convicted of the deaths on May 4, 1999, in U.S. District Court in Eastern Arkansas, and sentenced to death.
Besides three counts of murder, he also was found guilty on several other charges.
Friday, a federal court halted the execution at the request of the victim’s family, who said traveling to Terre Haute during the current COVID-19 pandemic could put their lives in danger.
The family says they opposed the execution, but wanted to serve as witnesses.
“For us it is a matter of being there and saying, ‘This is not being done in our name; we do not want this,’” Monica Veillette told The Associated Press.
Veillette was Nancy Mueller’s neice.
The family did not attend the execution.
Lee’s co-defendant, Chevie Kehoe, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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