July 11 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court has denied a stay of execution for death row inmate Daniel Lewis Lee, though the order has no bearing on a lower court's decision to temporarily block the lethal injection.
The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a district court's dismissal of Lee's lawsuit, which argued he had ineffective counsel during his trial.
Lee, 47, was sentenced to death for his role as an accomplice in the 1996 murders of William Mueller, his wife Nancy Mueller, and his stepdaughter Sarah Powell in Arkansas.
The appeals court decision came after U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson issued a temporary injunction -- in a separate case -- to delay the execution, which was scheduled to take place Monday. Should he have been put to death then, Lee would've been the first federal execution to take place in 17 years.
The U.S. Justice Department filed a notice that it planned to appeal Magnus-Stinson's order in the 7th Circuit.
The injunction came in response to a lawsuit filed by family members of the victims
The family filed a motion Tuesday asking for Lee's execution to be postponed due to the coronavirus. They said the pandemic "ravaging the federal prison population" would put them at risk if they attended the execution, especially those family members considered to be medically vulnerable.