The Seventh District's US Court of Appeals issued an order on Sunday that would conduct the first federal execution of a prison in the last 17 years that was scheduled to be held on Monday, following a pending appeal to the US Supreme Court.
According to CNN, the prisoner, Daniel Lewis Lee, who was sentenced with the execution, is a convicted killer and was initially set to be given his sentence on Monday.
However, a ruling on Friday delayed the execution after the family of the victim requested to put it on hold in fears of the coronavirus pandemic that threatens their health if they were to attend the capital punishment.
The ruling of the Seventh Circuit will enable the Monday execution to continue for now. Still, the attorney of the victim's family said they are expected to make an 11th-hour appeal to the Supreme Court.
Attorney Baker Kurrus stated that the federal government gave the victim's family a difficult choice between witnessing Lee's execution and keeping themselves away from the risk of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Sunday, a separate court filing showed that the Bureau of Prisons stated one of its personnel had tested positive for the deadly disease on Saturday while they were at the Terre Haute, Indiana, prison.
The execution was set to take place in the prison, and the agency had reassured that it conducted effective virus mitigation efforts. The positive staffer never stepped foot inside the execution chamber, stated the agency.
A gruesome crime
The execution of Lee was expected to bring a new era to the United States' justice system and its use of the death penalty. Three unrelated men convicted of child murders were also scheduled to be executed in the following weeks.
The court's order to suspend the punishment is a blow to Trump's administration, who, last July, announced the reinstatement of the death penalty after a 17-year lapse.
Last year, US Attorney General William Barr announced the revival of the federal death penalty, which President Trump called for previously, as reported by The New York Times.
Lawyers of the convicts scheduled to be executed were not allowed to visit their clients in prison for health concerns during the coronavirus pandemic. The agents noted the restrictions severely impeded their ability to defend their clients to their abilities.
Last month, Barr announced the US government intends to push through with the capital punishment starting with Lee.
The family of Lee's victims noted that if they were to attend the execution amid the coronavirus pandemic, they would be violating their doctors' orders. Some members would have to fly across four different states to get to the Terre Haute prison.
The family said they made a tough decision but revealed that they opposed putting Lee as a subject to the death penalty, stating it was not the justice they were looking for, as reported by Law and Crime.