First federal execution carried out in 17 years

Daniel Lewis Lee: First federal execution in 17 years

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Daniel Lewis Lee was killed by lethal injection Tuesday marking the first federal execution since 2003.

The execution of Lee went off after a series of legal volleys that ended when the Supreme Court stepped in early Tuesday in a 5-4 ruling and allowed it to move forward.

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In January 1996, Lee and Chevie Kehoe, the alleged ringleader, incapacitated William Mueller and his wife Nancy, and then questioned her 8-year-old daughter, Sarah Powell about where they could find money and ammunition. Then, they used stun guns on them, sealed trash bags with duct tape on their heads, taped rocks to their bodies and dumped them in a bayou.

Lee professed his innocence just before he was executed at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Executions on the federal level have been rare, and the government has put to death only four defendants since restoring the federal death penalty in 1988. Prior to Lee, Louis Jones was executed for the 1995 kidnapping, rape and murder of a young female soldier in 2003.

However, the Justice Department has continued to approve death penalty prosecutions and federal courts have sentenced defendants to death.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Office patrol the grounds of the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. Daniel Lewis Lee, a convicted killer, was executed Tuesday.
Office patrol the grounds of the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. Daniel Lewis Lee, a convicted killer, was executed Tuesday. (Michael Conroy/AP)