Execution set for sole Native American on federal death row

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) —The only Native American on federal death row is scheduled to be executed in late August, the U.S. government announced July 29.

Lezmond Mitchell, who is Navajo, had been among the first of a handful of inmates set to be put to death after the Trump administration restored federal executions after an informal, 17-year moratorium. Mitchell has been spared temporarily by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals where his attorneys argued they should be able to interview jurors for potential racial bias.

Mitchell lost the bid in late April, but the case hasn’t technically been closed, preserving a stay of execution. His attorneys have asked the appeals court to essentially keep the stay in place while they seek review at the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. attorney in Arizona urged the appeals court July 29 to make a quick decision.

The execution date for Mitchell, who was convicted of the 2001 murder of a Navajo woman and her 9-year-old granddaughter, now is Aug. 26 at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terra Haute, Indiana, where he’s being held.

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