Courts deny Mitchell’s request to stop execution

All efforts to stop his execution have so far failed for Lezmond Mitchell, who is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection today at 6 p.m. (EST).

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Mitchell’s petition to interview the jury that sentenced him to death and to stay his execution. The U.S. District Court also denied his complaint.

Jonathan Aminoff and Celeste Bacchi, federal public defenders who are representing Mitchell, said the decisions meant they’d never know if racism influenced the jury.

They added the death sentence was an “unprecedented infringement” on the Navajo Nation’s sovereignty.

“We hope the president will demonstrate his respect for tribal sovereignty and grant Mr. Mitchell the mercy of executive clemency,” Aminoff said on Wednesday.

Trump, on Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention, pardoned three-time convict Jon Ponder, saying in a video released by the White House on Tuesday, “Two years ago, I was honored to tell Jon Ponder’s story of transformation in the Rose Garden on the National Day of Prayer. Jon’s life is a beautiful testament to the power of redemption.”

Since taking office, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, Trump granted clemency to 25 people, including former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted in 2017 for criminal contempt. Arpaio was sheriff from 1992 to 2016.

Mitchell, a Navajo and the only Native American on death row, was convicted and was sentenced to death in 2003 for the 2001 carjacking and brutal killings of Alyce Slim, 63, and her nine-year-old granddaughter. Slim’s vehicle was later used in a robbery of a trading post.

He is expected to die by lethal injection at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

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Source: The Navajo Times

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