was pronounced dead by the coroner at 8:07 a.m. ET in Terre Haute,
Indiana. His last words were "I didn't do it. I've made a lot of
mistakes in my life but I'm not a murderer. You're killing an innocent
man," according to a pool report.
Supreme Court cleared the way for the resumption of the federal death
penalty in an unsigned order released after 2 a.m. ET Tuesday.
The court wiped away a lower court order
temporarily blocking the execution of Lee in a 5-4 vote.
a one-time white supremacist who killed a family of three, was
scheduled to be executed Monday. A federal judge blocked the planned
execution of Lee, and three others, citing ongoing challenges to the
federal government's lethal injection protocol.
Friedman, Lee's attorney, said in a statement Tuesday, "It is shameful
that the government saw fit to carry out this execution during a
"It is shameful that
the government saw fit to carry out this execution when counsel for
Danny Lee could not be present with him, and when the judges in his case
and even the family of his victims urged against it," Friedman said.
"And it is beyond shameful that the government, in the end, carried out
this execution in haste, in the middle of the night, while the country
was sleeping. We hope that upon awakening, the country will be as
outraged as we are."
seeking to delay the execution that involved family of Lee's victims who
were concerned about traveling and going to a federal prison during the
coronavirus pandemic was also denied by the Supreme Court in an order
-- whose daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law were tortured, killed
and dumped in a lake by Lee and an accomplice -- has opposed Lee's
execution, telling CNN last year that she did not want it done in her
Baker Kurrus, an attorney for
the victims' family, told CNN Tuesday morning the family is
"heartbroken" and said "the government prevented them from being there
and family did everything they could to be there."
Supreme Court said in its ruling that the death row inmates, including
Lee, bringing the case "have not established that they are likely to
succeed" in their challenge in part because the one drug protocol
proposed by the government -- single dose pentobarbital -- has become a
'mainstay' of state executions."
Attorney General William Barr said Lee "finally faced the justice he deserved."
American people have made the considered choice to permit capital
punishment for the most egregious federal crimes, and justice was done
today in implementing the sentence for Lee's horrific offenses," Barr
said in a statement.
Stephen Breyer, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, reiterated in one
dissent something he has said before: he thinks it's time for the court
to revisit the constitutionality of the death penalty.
resumption of federal executions promises to provide examples that
illustrate the difficulties of administering the death penalty
consistent with the Constitution," he said.
Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Elena Kagan and Ginsburg, wrote
separately to criticize the court's "accelerated decision making "
court forever deprives respondents of their ability to press a
constitutional challenge to their lethal injections," she said.
In 2019, Barr moved to reinstate the federal death penalty after a nearly two decade lapse.
directed the Bureau of Prisons to move forward with executions of some
"death-row inmates convicted of murdering, and in some cases torturing
and raping, the most vulnerable in our society — children and the
elderly." The scheduled executions reignited legal challenges to the
specific protocol used in executions and reinvigorated a debate
concerning the constitutionality of lethal injection.