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Worker aiding federal execution prep has positive virus test

Federal Death Penalty History Q&A
Posted at 5:47 PM, Jul 12, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Bureau of Prisons says a staff member involved in preparing for the first federal executions in nearly two decades has tested positive for coronavirus.

The Justice Department says the development won't mean an additional delay in the government’s timetable, which has already been stalled by a federal court.

The department says the worker hadn't been in the execution chamber and hadn't come into contact with anyone on the specialized team sent to the prison to handle the execution.

The bureau made the disclosure in court filings in response to lawsuits that have sought to halt executions scheduled to resume Monday.

The ruling from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturns a lower court order that had put the execution of 47-year-old Daniel Lewis Lee on hold.

Lee, of Yukon, Oklahoma, had been scheduled to die by lethal injection on Monday at a federal prison in Indiana.

He was convicted in Arkansas of the 1996 killings of gun dealer William Mueller, his wife, Nancy, and her 8-year-old daughter, Sarah Powell.