Community leaders react to temporary delay in Monday’s federal execution

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– An Indiana federal judge granted a temporary stay for Daniel Lewis Lee’s execution scheduled for Monday, July 13.

The judge ruled in favor of the victims’ family, after they raised concerns about traveling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sister Barbara Battista, Justice Promoter for the Sisters of Providence, said the recent ruling brings her hope.

“I was glad to know that the court system has some ray of hope. The court system does work and reasonable decisions can be made,” she said.

The United States Justice Department filed an appeal in response to Friday’s ruling.

The ruling only delays Lee’s execution and doesn’t affect the upcoming executions for Wesley Ira Purkey and Dustin Lee Honken, who are also scheduled to be executed this week.

Battista and other community organizations against the death penalty plan to hold a series of demonstrations in response to the federal executions.

Abraham Bonowitz, Co-Director of Death Penalty Action, said they’re waiting on the court’s final decision.

“They’re going to decide one way or the other. Are there merits to the claims? You just never know. So, we’re going to in place, if the execution goes forward,” he said.

Battista said although they are remaining hopeful, they have to be prepared for the worst.

“We have to stay flexible. Yes, Daniel Lewis Lee was granted an injunction. We do not know and we do not anticipate that it will necessarily stay or hold. All sorts of things could happen between now and Monday at 4 P.M.,” she noted.

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