USA: THE FEDERAL EXECUTION OF WESLEY IRA PURKEY HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED
July 16, 2020:
Wesley Ira Purkey, 68, White, was executed on July 16, 2020. He was pronounced dead at 8:19 a.m. local time, which means 13:19 GMT, and 14:19 in Italy. (Source: National Post, Indystar.com, cnn.com, foxnews.com, 16/07/2020)
Media witnesses were allowed into the brick building at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, where executions are performed, at 7:53 a.m. Two minutes later, the shades were lifted, allowing them a view of Purkey, already strapped to the execution table. IVs that carried the lethal injection drugs were already inserted into each of his hands. Dark purple veins stood out on his left hand.
After a legal battle that involved Purkey's mental state, he appeared to be lucid and aware of where he was and what was happening.
When asked if he wanted to make a final statement, Purkey said: “I deeply regret the pain and suffering I caused to Jennifer’s family. I am deeply sorry. I deeply regret the pain I caused to my daughter, who I love so very much. This sanitized murder really does not serve no purpose whatsoever.”
When the lethal pentobarbital was pumped into his body, Purkey began to blink rapidly. His chest continued to rise and fall deeply. After several minutes, his breaths became shorter. His mouth opened slightly.
All the while, a chaplain in full PPE stood in the execution chamber with his hands before his face in prayer.
A witness last saw Purkey's chest move at 8:02 a.m.
Seventeen minutes later came the announcement: "Death occurred at 8:19 a.m. This concludes the execution of inmate Purkey."
The curtains closed.
U.S. district court judge in Indiana had refused just one hour before to hear the very last Purkey's appeal, and lifted the temporary stay of his execution. In the order, the judge wrote Purkey's lawyers engaged in "procedural gamesmanship" by filing appeals in several courts. Purkey, now 68, White, was sentenced to death for the 1998 killing of 16-year-old Jennifer Long in Kansas City, Missouri. He repeatedly stabbed her, cut her body into pieces with a chainsaw, burned her remains then dumped her ashes in Kansas. 9 months later, Purkey was arrested in the killing of 80-year-old Mary Ruth Bales in Kansas. He was working for a plumbing company when he went to her home in October 1998 to fix a kitchen faucet. Purkey was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to Bale's murder. A federal jury in the Western District of Missouri convicted Purkey in 2003 of kidnapping Long, resulting in her death. He was then sentenced to death in January 2004.
His lawyer argued Purkey has an 'excruciating history of trauma at home and school' and that his trial lawyer failed to investigate and present mitigating evidence of his traumatic childhood, which included sexual abuse by a Catholic priest.
Despite the Supreme Court's order, Purkey's attorneys continued to challenge his execution. Attorneys for Purkey argued that his execution warrant expired at midnight on July 15 and that any subsequent execution date must be predicated by 20 days advance notice.
Purkey's lawyers had also filed two last-minute claims in federal court in Indiana renewing his argument that he is mentally incompetent, making any execution unconstitutional.
Wesley Ira Purkey was the 9th person executed this year in the USA, the 1,521st executed in the United States since 1976, the 5th person executed in the federal system, and the 1,341st person executed by lethal injection.