Only Native American on federal death row is set to be executed today 19 years after he slit nine-year-old girl's throat and stoned her to death and stabbed her 63-year-old grandmother 33 times - unless Donald Trump grants him clemency

The only Native American on federal death row - who murdered a nine-year old girl and her 63-year-old grandmother - will be put to death today unless Donald Trump wades in and signs a clemency petition.  
Lezmond Mitchell, 38, a member of the Navajo Nation tribe, will be executed by lethal injection in the Department of Justice's execution chamber in Terre Haute penitentiary in Indiana at 6 p.m. Wednesday, despite opposition from the tribe which claims it would violate Navajo culture and sovereignty.
Mitchell was sentenced to death for the brutal slayings of Tiffany Lee, 9, and Alyce Slim, 63, after they offered him and his accomplice Johnny Oslinger a lift in their pickup truck as they hitchhiked on the Navajo Nation in 2001. 
They stabbed Slim 33 times, slit Tiffany's throat and stoned her to death, before decapitating both the victim's bodies.  
Mitchell's execution, which comes on the third night of the Republican National Convention, will mark the fourth federal execution this year after a 17-year pause.
The Trump administration began pushing ahead with federal executions in July in what many saw as a political move in the run-up to November's election. 
Lezmond Mitchell, 38, (pictured) the only Native American on federal death row - who murdered a nine-year old girl and her 63-year-old grandmother - will be put to death today unless Donald Trump wades in and signs a clemency petition
Lezmond Mitchell, 38, (pictured) the only Native American on federal death row - who murdered a nine-year old girl and her 63-year-old grandmother - will be put to death today unless Donald Trump wades in and signs a clemency petition
Mitchell is set to be killed with lethal injections of the powerful barbiturate pentobarbital in Terre Haute where he has been on death row following his 2003 conviction for first-degree murder and felony murder. 
He is the only Native American on federal death row and his crimes were carried out on tribal territory in Arizona. 
On Tuesday night, the US Supreme Court rejected the killer's bid for a stay on execution based on his lawyers' argument that racial bias may have tainted the jury at his trial.  

Mitchell's lawyers, the Navajo Nation and 13 other tribes have asked the president for clemency.
The Navajo strongly opposes the death penalty, with its teachings condemning the taking of human life 'for vengeance'.   
Jonathan Nez, the president of the Navajo Nation, and Myron Lizer, the vice president of the Navajo Nation, sent a letter to Trump this month pleading with him to convert Mitchell's death sentence to life in prison without parole. 
Mitchell was sentenced to death for the brutal slayings of Tiffany Lee, 9, and Alyce Slim, 63, (pictured) after they offered him and his accomplice Johnny Oslinger a lift in their pickup truck as they hitchhiked on the Navajo Nation in 2001
Mitchell was sentenced to death for the brutal slayings of Tiffany Lee, 9, and Alyce Slim, 63, (pictured) after they offered him and his accomplice Johnny Oslinger a lift in their pickup truck as they hitchhiked on the Navajo Nation in 2001 

Mitchell's lawyers said this is the only time in modern history where the federal government has pursued the death penalty despite the tribe objecting and the crime being committed on tribal land.  
Tribal sovereignty means Native American governments have the right to govern their own members on tribal land.
The Major Crimes Act does however give the federal government jurisdiction over certain major crimes occurring on tribal territory, including murder, but usually the government cannot pursue capital punishment for a Native American for a crime on tribal land without the tribe's consent.
However, in what Mitchell's lawyers deride as a legal loophole, federal prosecutors successfully pursued the death penalty against the killer and were able to go against the wishes of the Navajo because one of his charges was 'carjacking resulting in death' - a capital crime not listed in the Major Crimes Act. 
In 2002, Levon Henry, then attorney general for the Navajo Nation, requested the federal government not seek capital punishment but then-US Attorney General John Ashcroft overrode Charlton's recommendation, according to records. 
All hopes of a stay now rest on Trump granting the killer clemency - something that seems unlikely given the president's political stance and the timing of the execution in the same week he has focused heavily on 'law and order' during the RNC.
Tiffany's father Daniel Lee said he wants his little girl's killer to die for his crimes, saying he believes in the principle of 'an eye for an eye'. 
The devastated father told The Associated Press the Navajo leaders don't speak for him and what he wants: 'I speak for myself and for my daughter.'
Several relatives of the two victims including Marlene Slim, Tiffany's mom and Slim's daughter, previously said they opposed Mitchell's execution, but lawyers recently wrote a letter on behalf of some saying they want the sentence carried out. 
The letter said Mitchell had shown no 'respect for... Navajo cultural teachings that stress the sanctity of life.'
It is not clear if the victims' families plan to attend Wednesday's execution.  
Mitchell was convicted in 2003 over the killings of the little girl and her grandmother, a well-loved school bus driver who was nearing retirement.
In October 2001, Mitchell, then 20, and Johnny Orsinger, a teenager at the time, were planning an armed robbery and needed a vehicle to carry it out.
They traveled from Round Rock, Arizona, to Gallup, New Mexico before hitchhiking back to the Navajo Nation.
Slim and Tiffany were traveling to Tohatchi, New Mexico, to see a traditional healer for leg ailments and then went on to Twin Lakes, New Mexico. 
On their return, they stopped at a gas station on Navajo land and Slim agreed to give Mitchell and Orsinger a ride in her pickup truck.  
Slim pulled over near Sawmill, Arizona, to let the two men out.
Mitchell and Orsinger stabbed Slim 33 times before putting her body next to Tiffany in the back seat.
They drove to an abandoned sheep camp in the mountains and told the little girl to prepare to die.
Mitchell slit Tiffany's throat but when she did not die, Orsinger dropped rocks on her head to kill her, court records reveal. 
Uncle of Lezmond Mitchell reflects on events leading up to execution
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Navajo Nation (pictured), 13 other tribes and Mitchell's lawyers have asked Trump for clemency saying the death penalty violates Navajo culture and sovereignty
Navajo Nation (pictured), 13 other tribes and Mitchell's lawyers have asked Trump for clemency saying the death penalty violates Navajo culture and sovereignty
Auska Mitchell holds a photograph of his nephew Lezmond Mitchell. Tribal sovereignty means Native Americans govern tribal land but the Major Crimes Act gives the federal government jurisdiction over certain major crimes
Auska Mitchell holds a photograph of his nephew Lezmond Mitchell. Tribal sovereignty means Native Americans govern tribal land but the Major Crimes Act gives the federal government jurisdiction over certain major crimes

The killers later returned to where they dumped the victim's bodies, decapitated them and buried some of their remains while leaving some in the woods. 
They also burned the victims' belongings.
Days later, Mitchell was also involved in an armed robbery at a trading post in the Navajo Nation.   
Because the crimes occurred on tribal land, state prosecutors had no jurisdiction so the two killers were tried in federal court.
Mitchell was convicted of robbery, firearm violations, carjacking resulting in death, murder and kidnapping and was sentenced to death.   
Orsinger was a juvenile at the time so was ineligible for the death penalty and was sentenced to life in prison.
He is serving his sentence in an Atlanta prison. 
Mitchell has long maintained that Orsinger, who had a criminal record at the time, was the ringleader of the grisly crimes. 
Mitchell's execution will be the fourth this year and will mean the federal government under Trump will have carried out more executions in 2020 than have taken place in the whole of the last 56 years.
Before this year, the federal government had carried out just three executions since 1963, all of them between 2001 and 2003. 
Daniel Lewis Lee, 47, of Yukon, Oklahoma, was the first to be put to death by the federal government in almost two decades on July 14.  
The self-confessed white supremacist was convicted in Arkansas of the 1996 killings of gun dealer William Mueller, his wife Nancy, and her 8-year-old daughter, Sarah Powell. 
Two days later, 'claw-hammer' killer Wesley Purkey, 68, was put to death for kidnapping, raping and killing 16-year-old Jennifer Long before dismembering, burning and then dumping her body in a septic pond in 1998. 
He was also convicted in a state court in Kansas after using a claw hammer to batter 80-year-old polio sufferer Mary Bales to death when he was called out to her home for a plumbing job.    
Dustin Honken, 52, dubbed 'Iowa's Walter White' after he went from being a nerdy chemistry student to a methamphetamine kingpin and murderer, became the third to be executed the next day.  
Honken was sentenced to death in 2004 for the brutal 1993 slayings of five people including two little girls aged 10 and six and government informants. 
Members of Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona demonstrate against the scheduled execution of Mitchell Tuesday
Members of Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona demonstrate against the scheduled execution of Mitchell Tuesday
All three of the inmates tried and failed in bringing legal challenges against their executions.  
Child killer Keith Nelson has his federal execution date set for Friday for the kidnapping, rape and strangulation of a 10-year-old girl.  
The executions of Christopher Andre Vialva and William Emmett LeCroy are also scheduled for late September.  
The decision to move forward with federal executions has drawn scrutiny from civil rights groups who have argued the Trump administration, which has been pushing for the executions, was creating an unnecessary and manufactured urgency for political gain ahead of the 2020 elections. 
One of Trump's early campaign promises was to be 'tough on crime' - a stance he has ramped up as he aims to draw in voters ahead of November's election. 
Concerns have also been raised over how executions are carried out with many arguing the lethal injection causes severe pain and should be deemed unconstitutional.
Attorney General William Barr has said the Justice Department has a duty to carry out the sentences imposed by the courts, including the death penalty, and to bring a sense of closure to the victims and those in the communities where the killings happened. 
There are currently 58 men and one woman on federal death row, many of whose executions have been pending for over 20 years.   
The federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, where Mitchell will become the fourth federal inmate executed this year
The federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, where Mitchell will become the fourth federal inmate executed this year
Only Native American on federal death row is set to be executed today 19 years after he slit nine-year-old girl's throat and stoned her to death and stabbed her 63-year-old grandmother 33 times - unless Donald Trump grants him clemency Only Native American on federal death row is set to be executed today 19 years after he slit nine-year-old girl's throat and stoned her to death and stabbed her 63-year-old grandmother 33 times - unless Donald Trump grants him clemency Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 03:09 Rating: 5

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