Only Native American on federal death row executed; Victim’s father thanks Trump administration for justice served

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This undated family photo provided by Auska Mitchell shows Lezmond Mitchell, who is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Ind., for the 2001 killing of Alyce Slim and her granddaughter. The Navajo government is pushing to spare his life on the basis cultural beliefs and sovereignty. Mitchell was the first Native American sentenced to death since the resumption of the federal death penalty in 1994 and the only Native American awaiting his punishment. (Courtesy Auska Mitchell via AP)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind.(WTWO/WAWV) — The only Native American on federal death row was put to death Wednesday, despite objections from many Navajo leaders who had urged President Donald Trump to halt the execution on the grounds it would violate tribal culture and sovereignty.

Lezmond Mitchell’s execution marked the fourth federal execution this year. The federal government has now carried out more executions in 2020 than it had in the previous 56 years combined.

Pentobarbital was administered shortly after 6:03 p.m. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons confirmed Mitchell was pronounced dead at 6:29 p.m.

When asked if he had any final words, Mitchell said, “No, I’m good.”

Mitchell, 38, and an accomplice were convicted of killing 9-year-old Tiffany Lee and 63-year-old Alyce Slim, who had offered them a lift in her pickup truck as they hitchhiked on the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona in 2001.

They stabbed Slim 33 times, slit Tiffany’s throat and stoned her to death. They later mutilated both bodies.

Victim’s father provides statement

Daniel Lee, father of victim Tiffany Lee, stands by while his lawyer, Colleen Clase, reads a prepared statement following the execution of Lezmond Mitchell. (WTWO Photo/Dana Winklepleck)

Daniel Lee, Tiffany’s dad, provided a statement following Wednesday’s execution:

I have waited nineteen years to get justice for my daughter, Tiffany. I will never get Tiffany back, but I hope that this will bring some closure.

It is my through my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that I am here to witness this today.

I have received messages of prayer from across the country. To those who have been praying for me during this process, thank you.

I would like to thank those who investigated her murder, prosecuted this case and ensured that justice was done.

This includes:

  • the Navajo Nation Police Department,
  • the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and
  • the United States Attorney’s Office.

I am grateful for the work of teh US Attorney’s Office over the last few weeks, days, and hours leading up to this moment.

I would also like to thank:

  • Attorney General William Barr, and
  • President Donald Trump

for the pursuit of justice for Tiffany. Had it not been for the Trump administration, I do not think I would have ever received justice or a sense of finality.

Last, I would like to thank the Warden as well as the BOP’s Crisis Response Team for the support they have provided to me in preparing for today.

I request that you respect my privacy during this difficult time and allow me the opportunity to try to move forward.

No witnesses attended on behalf of Mitchell, according to the BOP.

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