Attorneys for an inmate sentenced to death says the federal government has set an execution date for August 26th at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute.
Lezmond Mitchell was sentenced to death for murdering a 63-year-old woman and her granddaughter in October 2001. Mitchell was sentenced to death in October 2003.
Because the crime took place on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, Mitchell’s attorneys argue the government can’t execute their client unless the Navajo Tribe consents to it.
“The federal government secured a death sentence against Mr. Mitchell notwithstanding the objections of the Navajo Nation, members of the victims’ family, and the local United States Attorney’s Office," Deputy Federal Public Defenders Jonathan Aminoff and Celeste Bacchi, said in a statement.
"Mr. Mitchell was just 20 at the time of the crime with no history of violence, while his juvenile co-defendant, who was the primary aggressor and had previously murdered two people in an unrelated incident, received a sentence of life imprisonment.”
Mitchell’s original execution date was December 11th, 2019, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a delay to allow for attorneys to determine whether there was anti-Native American bias in his case. In April, two of the three judges on the appeals court voted to uphold Mitchell’s death sentence.
If the execution takes place as planned, he will be the 4th federal inmate executed since Attorney General William P. Barr lifted a moratorium on federal executions last year.
Three condemned men were put to death by lethal injection last month. A fifth inmate, Keith Nelson is scheduled for execution August 28th.