(WASHINGTON, D.C.) United States Attorney General William P. Barr has directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule the executions of five people convicted in murder cases involving young or elderly victims.
Daniel Lewis Lee, Lezmond Mitchell, Wesley Ira Purkey, Alfred Bourgeois and Dustin Lee Honken have been convicted in their respective cases to a sentence of death. Barr said the executions would be the first in federal cases in nearly 20 years, or since 2003.
One of those scheduled to die includes a man who killed a family of three in Pope County.
Daniel Lewis Lee was convicted in 1999 of killing a Pope County family during a cross-country rampage that included the 1996 slayings of gun dealer Bill Mueller, 53; his wife, Nancy Mueller, 28; and her 8-year-old daughter, Sarah Powell, who lived in the tiny town of Tilly.
Prosecutors from the U.S. Department of Justice said Lee robbed and shot the victims with a stun gun, then covered their heads with plastic bags, sealed the bags with duct tape, weighed down each victim with rocks and threw the family of three into the Illinois Bayou at Russellville.
Authorities said the crimes were part of a scheme to steal a large cache of guns and $50,000 cash from Mueller to use in the establishment of a whites-only nation in the Pacific Northwest.
Chevie Kehoe, who was considered the leader of the conspiracy, was sentenced to life in prison without parole after jurors found that his attorneys had proved several facts that mitigated a death sentence.
A jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas found Lee guilty of multiple offenses, including three counts of murder in aid of racketeering, and he was sentenced to death. Lee’s execution is scheduled to occur on Dec. 9, 2019.
In 2014, President Barack Obama directed the department to conduct a review of capital punishment and issues surrounding lethal injection drugs. That review resulted in what effectively was a freeze on executions; but, now the department has informed the
Bureau of Prisons that the review has been and the executions can continue.