The U.S. government on Tuesday carried out the first federal execution in almost two decades, putting to death Daniel Lewis Lee, by lethal injection.
Lee, a white supremacist, was involved in the killing of an Arkansas family as part of the 1990s plot to build a whites-only nation in the Pacific Northwest.
He murdered an Alabama gun dealer, his wife and their 8-year-old daughter in 1996.
Lee, 47, of Yukon, Oklahoma, died by lethal injection at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, AP reported.
“I didn’t do it,” Lee said just before he was executed. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, but I’m not a murderer. … You’re killing an innocent man.”
Lee’s death Tuesday came a day after a federal judge halted the first federal execution in 17 years just hours before it was scheduled to take place.
U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan stopped the scheduled execution, citing the potential pain inflicted by the lethal injection cocktail.
The decision to move forward with the execution — the first by the Bureau of Prisons since 2003 — drew scrutiny from civil rights groups.
The relatives of Lee’s victims, also sued to try to halt it, citing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.