Man set to be executed in Terre Haute files request for stay, claims racial bias among jurors

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FILE – In this March 17, 2003 file photo, the guard tower flanks the sign at the entrance to the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., the site of the last federal execution. The Justice Department says it will carry out executions of federal death row inmates for the first time since 2003. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — One of the five death row inmates set to have their sentences carried out in Terre Haute has asked for a stay of execution, citing a potential racial bias in the original jury.

Lezmond Mitchell was convicted in 2003 of stabbing to death a 63-year-old grandmother and slitting the throat of her nine-year-old granddaughter. Their beheaded, mutilated bodies were found in a shallow grave on a Navajo reservation.

His execution is scheduled for Dec. 11.

Mitchell’s attorneys said Tuesday that they filed the request for a stay, arguing that their client, a Navajo man, should be given the opportunity to investigate his concerns about potential racial bias by the jury that heard his case.

They said that executing him without looking into potential juror bias would be “a grave injustice.”

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