A federal judge has halted the execution scheduled Monday of Daniel Lee, convicted of the 1996 slayings of three members of an Arkansas family.

The family of the victims had asked for a delay. They wanted to attend the execution — which they oppose — but were afraid of traveling during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Lee was to be the first federal execution in 17 years. Several others have been scheduled. He’s contesting his death penalty on several grounds, including that an accomplice considered the leader in the killings, Chevie Kehoe, received a life sentence.

The stay of the execution lasts as long as the coronavirus emergency lasts. It does not apply to two other executions scheduled next week.

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A judge in Indiana decided the issue. Lee is being held in a prison in Terra Haute, Ind.

The Justice Department is appealing

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