13/07/2020 08:55 BST | Updated 13/07/2020 10:32 BST

US Set To Carry Out First Federal Execution In 17 Years

Daniel Lewis Lee was convicted of killing three people in 1996. His victims' families had wanted a delay so they could safely travel to the execution.

The US government is set to carry out its first federal execution in almost two decades. 

Daniel Lewis Lee, of Yukon, Oklahoma, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 4pm on Monday at a federal prison in Indiana, the Associated Press reported. 

He was convicted in Arkansas of the 1996 killings of gun dealer William Mueller, his wife, Nancy, and her eight-year-old daughter, Sarah Powell. 

The execution – the first of a federal death row inmate since 2003 – comes after a federal appeals court lifted an injunction that had been put in place last week when the victims’ family argued they would be put at high risk for coronavirus if they had to travel to attend the execution.

The family had vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The decision to move forward with the execution – and two others scheduled later in the week – during a global health pandemic which has ravaged the country’s prisons has drawn scrutiny from civil rights groups and the family of Lee’s victims.

Critics have argued that the government is creating an unnecessary and manufactured urgency around a topic that is not high on the current list of American concerns.

It is also likely to add a new front to the national conversation about criminal justice reform in the lead-up to the 2020 elections.