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Federal Government Scheduled To Execute Navajo Man

A Navajo man is set to be executed by the federal government on Wednesday. The federal government is proceeding with the death sentence despite opposition from the Navajo Nation.

Lezmond Mitchell is one of five federal inmates who were scheduled to be executed when Attorney General William Barr directed the Bureau of Prisons to resume capital punishment in July 2019.

If Mitchell is put to death on schedule and becomes the fourth federal inmate executed this year, the federal government under the pro-death penalty president will have carried out more executions in 2020 than in the previous 56 years combined.

The Navajo government asked Trump to  commute Mitchell’s sentence on grounds his execution would violate Navajo culture and sovereignty.

Mitchell, 38, and an accomplice were convicted of killing 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.

The execution will take place at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jimmy Jenkins is a senior field correspondent at KJZZ and a contributor to NPR’s Election 2020 and Criminal Justice station collaborations. His work has been featured on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, Here and Now, The Takeaway and NPR Newscasts.Originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, Jenkins has a B.S. in criminology from Indiana State University and a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University.Much of his reporting has focused on the criminal justice system. Jenkins has reported on Tasers, body cameras, use of force, jail privatization, prison health care and the criminal contempt trial of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.