GRADY, Ark. (KFSM) — Arkansas moved forward with the scheduled execution of Ledell Lee on Thursday night (April 20). Lee was convicted for the murder of Debra Reese in 1993.
The Arkansas Department of Corrections confirmed that Lee was executed by lethal injection at 11:56 p.m. Lee offered no final words and his last meal was communion.
The U.S. Supreme Court lifted the stay of execution 30 minutes before Lee’s death warrant was set to expire, reports our affiliate THV11.
Lee has maintained his innocence since the murder 24 years ago and his last efforts to stay his executions were met with denials from both Arkansas and federal courts.
His attorneys filed a civil rights lawsuit on Thursday asking for a stay of his execution to allow more time for new DNA testing in the case.
Lee’s attorneys were looking to test a drop of blood on one of Lee’s shoes and hairs found at the crime scene. They said they also wanted to call into question the three eyewitnesses.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement following the execution:
“Tonight the lawful sentence of a jury which has been upheld by the courts through decades of challenges has been carried out. The family of the late Debra Reese, who was brutally murdered with a tire thumper after being targeted because she was home alone, has waited more than 24 years to see justice done. I pray this lawful execution helps bring closure for the Reese family.”
This was the first execution in Arkansas since Eric Nance in 2005.