One of the five death row prisoners set to be executed at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute is requesting a judge halt his execution because his rights were violated.
Lezmond Mitchell's execution is set for Dec. 11. He was convicted of stabbing a 63-year-old grandmother to death and slitting her 9-year-old granddaughter's throat. Police found their beheaded, mutilated bodies in a shallow grave on a Navajo reservation in Arizona.
Mitchell's attorney filed a motion Monday requesting a stay of execution. The motion claims jurors who sentenced Mitchell to death "allowed bias or prejudice to cloud their judgement." Court documents say Mitchell is a member of the Navajo Nation and court proceedings should be re-opened because he wasn't given a chance to look into the potential racial bias.
"This was particularly concerning in this case given the United States Government's history of mistreatment of the Native American people, the unique nature of this prosecution, and the fact that Native Americans were almost entirely excluded from serving on Mitchell's jury," the motion says.
The federal government must file its response to the motion by Sept. 27.