Only Native American on Federal Death Row Executed - POLSKA УКРАЇНА

The only Native American on federal death row was put to death Wednesday, despite objections from many Navajo leaders who had urged President Donald Trump to halt the execution on the ground it would violate tribal culture and sovereignty.With the execution of Lezmond Mitchell for the grisly slayings of a 9-year-old and her grandmother, the federal government under the pro-death penalty president has now carried out more executions in 2020 than it had in the previous 56 years combined.Asked by a prison official if he had any last words for victims’ family members and other witnesses behind glass at the death chamber, Mitchell responded, “No, I’m good.”Mitchell was pronounced dead at 6:29 p.m. EDT after receiving a lethal injection of pentobarbital inside the small, pale green death chamber at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. The lethal injection began about 26 minutes before he was pronounced dead.Mitchell, 38, and an accomplice were convicted of killing Tiffany Lee and Alyce Slim, 63, after the grandmother offered them a lift as they hitchhiked on the Navajo Nation in 2001. They stabbed Slim 33 times, slit Tiffany’s throat and stoned her to death. They later mutilated both bodies.Late appeals failTribal leaders’ bid to persuade Trump to commute Mitchell’s sentence to life in prison failed, as did last-minute appeals by his lawyers for a stay. The first three federal executions in 17 years went ahead in July after similar legal maneuvers failed. Keith Nelson, who was also convicted of killing a child, is slated to die Friday.Critics accuse Trump of pushing to resume executions after a nearly 20-year hiatus in a quest to claim the mantle of law-and-order candidate. Mitchell’s execution occurred during the GOP’s convention week.”Today’s decision means we will never know for sure whether anti-Native American bias influenced the jury’s decision to sentence Lezmond Mitchell to death,” his lawyers, Jonathan Aminoff and Celeste Bacchi, said in a statement, reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision not to take up the case. “Mr. Mitchell’s life is in President Trump’s hands, and we hope the president will demonstrate his respect for tribal sovereignty and grant Mr. Mitchell the mercy of executive clemency.” Nelson also is slated to die at the Terre Haute prison, where all federal executions are carried out with pentobarbital. Nelson’s lawyers say pentobarbital can cause severe pain and should be deemed unconstitutional.Death-penalty advocates say the Trump administration’s restart of executions is bringing justice too long delayed to victims and families. There are currently 58 men and one woman on federal death row, many of whose executions have been pending for over 20 years.’He will have to answer to God’Donel Lee, Tiffany Lee’s older brother, thanked Trump for not stopping the execution and criticized the opposition by the Navajo Nation president.”He will have to answer to God why he wanted this murderer to live,” Donel Lee said. “But now I’m at peace with it and justice is served. Now he [Mitchell] has to answer to God, and I hope my little sister was standing there with God while he judged him.”Tiffany Lee’s father, Daniel Lee, has told The Associated Press, he believes in the principle of “an eye for an eye” and wanted Mitchell to die for the slayings. He also said Navajo leaders don’t speak for him: “I speak for myself and for my daughter.”Family and friends described Slim, a school bus driver who was approaching retirement, as gracious, spiritual and well-liked by students on her route.Michael Slim, the grandson and cousin of the victims, has sat on both sides of the courtroom during Mitchell’s court cases. An outlier in his family, he supported putting Mitchell to death but gradually changed his mind over the years and said that should be left up to God.”We are all guilty of sin, so it’s not fair for us to condemn someone,” he said. “It’s not my job to say ‘we should kill him.’ “Slim wrote to Mitchell last year saying he wanted to be his friend and advocate for him to be released from death row. As the execution neared, Slim said he was in constant prayer.”I keep thinking good thoughts about him,” he said Tuesday.

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