Daniel Lewis Lee is the first person executed by the federal government in over 17 years. Lee was convicted of killing an Arkansas family in the 1990s. His execution went forward on Tuesday after a one day stay of execution had been granted at the request of his attorney.
Lee and an accomplice broke into the Arkansas home of a local gun dealer, William Mueller, with the intent of stealing guns and money, to further a criminal enterprise, specifically a white supremacist group of which they were members. During the home invasion, Lee and his partner shot Mueller, Mueller’s wife, Nancy, and their eighth year old daughter, Sarah.
The two men then took the bodies of the three victims to a nearby bayou, and threw them in. Lee and his partner had wrapping the slain family in plastic, secured the plastic with duct tape, then adding stones to the plastic to weight the bodies down. It took several months for the bodies to be found, and that was only after they washed up in a lake that fed from the bayou.
Lee had initially received a stay of execution from a judge after his attorney argued that the victim’s family couldn’t reasonably attend the execution due to COVID 19 precautions – the US Supreme Court overturned the stay, and the execution proceeded. It was later learned that several surviving members of the Mueller family also wanted the execution stayed, citing that they didn’t believe in the death penalty, and they wanted Lee to have his sentence commuted to life in prison.
The USDOJ has at least 3 additional death sentences set to be carried out in the following weeks, resulting in a change in DOJ philosophy under the direction Director William Bar, and President Donald Trump.