New York – The US government on Tuesday carried out its first execution in 17 years, putting to death convicted murderer Daniel Lee after the Supreme Court cleared the way overnight, a US Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman said.
Lee, a self-confessed white supremecist who was convicted of killing three members of a Arkansas family, was pronounced dead at 8:07 am EDT (1207 GMT), the spokeswoman, Kristie Breshears, said by phone.
The execution had been held up by a US District Court in Washington, which on Monday ordered the US Justice Department to delay four executions scheduled for July and August. The order was later affirmed by an appellate court.
But at 2:10 am (0610 GMT), about 10 hours after Lee’s execution was due to take place in Terre Haute, Indiana, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote cleared the way for federal executions to resume.
“The plaintiffs in this case have not made the showing required to justify last-minute intervention by a Federal Court. Last-minute stays like that issued this morning should be the extreme exception, not the norm,” the Supreme Court said.