Daniel Lewis Lee, convicted in the 1996 murders of three family members in Arkansas, was executed by lethal injection at 8:07 a.m. today at the U.S. Penitentiary Terre Haute.
Lee, 47, was removed from his holding cell, strip-searched by the prison restraint team, then dressed and secured with restraints, before being escorted to the execution chamber where he was strapped to a gurney.
A catheter was inserted into a vein in his arm to receive the legal chemicals that stopped his heart. The execution began at 7:45 a.m. and was concluded at 8:07 a.m.
“I bear no responsibility for the death of the Mueller family,” Lee said in his final comments.
He raised his head from the gurney and looked toward the windows of the witness rooms as he spoke.
“I made a lot of mistakes in my life, but I’m not a murderer,” Lee said. “You’re killing an innocent man.”
Lee also said he was “on the other end of the country” when the Mueller family was murdered.
Inside the execution room with Lee were individuals identified as a U.S. Marshal, two senior Bureau of Prisons officials and a woman identified as Lee’s spiritual advisor.
Witnesses were admitted to designated and separate areas about 4:20 a.m. prior to the execution, but after Lee had been secured to the gurney. He remained on the gurney for more than three hours while a last-minute technical legal issue was raised by Lee’s counsel.
The U.S. Marshal made a final telephone call to check for a last minute stay. The U.S. Supreme Court had voted 5-4 a few hours earlier to clear the way for the execution after it had been on again and off again since last weekend.
With legal issues resolved, the fatal drug was then administered.
At 8:08 a.m., the senior prison official announced that death occurred at 8:07 a.m. The shades on the windows were then lowered and witnesses were escorted out to vans which delivered the media witnesses to the prison media center.
Two additional executions are scheduled this week at the federal prison.
Wesley Ira Purkey, 68, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 4 p.m. Wednesday. A stay ordered by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago remained in effect as of Monday, however.
Dustin Lee Honken, 52, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 4 p.m. Friday.
A fourth inmate – 45-year-old Keith Dwayne Nelson – is scheduled to die by lethal injection Aug. 28.
Original story posted at 8:20 a.m.:
Daniel Lewis Lee was executed this morning at the federal prison in Terre Haute.
His execution, scheduled for Monday afternoon, met with a series of legal delays that were finally resolved during the night and early morning hours.
Lee, who was convicted and sentence to death for killing three people, died from lethal injection at 8:07 a.m.
It was the first federal execution in 17 years.
This story will be updated.