Wesley Ira Purkey executed in 2nd federal execution this week

by Jeffrey Swindoll · Jul 16th, 2020 2:36 pm

Last Updated Jul 17th, 2020 at 6:33 am

The U.S. executed Wesely Ira Purkey on Thursday morning in the second federal execution this week. Purkey, 68, died by lethal injection at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Purkey was convicted for kidnapping and killing 16-year-old Jennifer Long in 1998.

"I deeply regret the pain and suffering I caused to Jennifer's family," Purkey said in the moments before his execution. "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."

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Purkey's execution in a 5-4 decision just hours before it took place.

Purkey's lawyers argued he did not understand why he was being executed because he had dementia.

"Proceeding with Purkey's execution now, despite the grave questions and factual findings regarding his mental competency, casts a shroud of constitutional doubt over the most irrevocable of injuries," Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan also joined Sotomayor.

Liz Vartkessian, a mitigation specialist who visited Purkey many times in the last five years, said he had a long history of paranoia, delusions, and childhood trauma. Purkey was sexually abused by family members, a Catholic priest, and was also beaten by other family members, Vartkessian said.

? Purkey was also separately convicted and sentenced to life in Kansas for killing an 80-year-old woman, Mary Ruth Bales, in 1998.


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