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Lezmond Mitchell, who is Navajo, had been among the first of a handful of inmates set to be put to death after the Trump administration restored federal executions

Lezmond Mitchell Wiki, Lezmond Mitchell Bio

 

Lezmond Mitchell, who is Navajo, had been among the first of a handful of inmates set to be put to death after the Trump administration restored federal executions after an informal, 17-year moratorium. Mitchell has been spared temporarily by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals where his attorneys argued they should be able to interview jurors for potential racial bias.

 

Mitchell lost the offer in late April, but technically the case has not been closed, preserving the stay of execution. His attorneys have asked the appeals court to essentially keep the stay in place while they seek a review in the US Supreme Court. The United States. The Arizona attorney urged the appeals court on Wednesday to make a swift decision.

The execution date of Mitchell, who was convicted of the 2001 murder of a Navajo woman and her 9-year-old granddaughter, is now August. 26 at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terra Haute, Indiana, where he is being held.

Despite the horrifying nature of the killings, tribal officials and even the victims’ families opposed the death penalty. Native American tribes for decades have been able to tell federal prosecutors if they want a death sentence considered for certain crimes on their land. Almost everyone, including the Navajo Nation, has rejected that option.

Mitchell was convicted of auto theft that resulted in death, a crime that carries a possible death sentence no matter where it happens, meaning the tribe had no way to object.

“The federal government’s announcement that it now plans to execute Lezmond Mitchell demonstrates a lack of respect for the values ​​and sovereignty of the Navajo Nation,” his attorneys, Jonathan Aminoff and Celeste Bacchi, said in a statement Wednesday.

Mitchell is slated to be executed in the same week as Keith Dwayne Nelson, who was convicted of kidnapping a 10-year-old girl while she was skating outside her Kansas home and raping her in a forest behind a church, then strangling each one.

Three other federal inmates were executed earlier this month: Dustin Honken, Wesley Purkey, and Daniel Lewis Lee. They were all convicted of killing children.

Mitchell and an accomplice kidnapped 63-year-old Alyce Slim and his granddaughter in October 2001, with plans to use Slim’s vehicle in a robbery. Prosecutors said the two fatally stabbed Slim and cut the girl’s neck. Their decapitated and mutilated bodies were found in a shallow grave in the Navajo Nation.

Mitchell’s attorneys have said he had no history of violence and was not the primary assailant. They said they will continue to seek ways to alleviate the sentences and the death sentence.

BASE. Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday that the courts have repeatedly ruled against Mitchell.

Navajo Nation Council delegate Carl Slater, whose grandparents testified against capital punishment in Mitchell’s trial as educators, has been pressing the tribe to petition the federal government for clemency and affirm its position against the death penalty.

If the execution progresses, Slater said he would send a message that the federal government has no problem using the loopholes to infringe on the tribe’s sovereignty.

“This is completely in conflict with our values,” he said. “The government has an obligation to express and reflect our values. That is not just for our citizens, it is for other sovereigns who have these relationships. ”

 

 

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