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AG Barr Directs Federal Bureau of Prisons to Schedule Executions of Four Federal Inmates Convicted of Murdering Children

AG Barr Directs Federal Bureau of Prisons to Schedule Executions of Four Federal Inmates Convicted of Murdering Children

US Attorney General William Barr

US Attorney General Bill Barr on Monday directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule executions for four federal death-row inmates convicted of murdering children.

In two of the cases, the inmates raped the children they murdered.

In July of 2019, AG Barr directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to revise the Federal Execution Protocol to provide for the use of a single-drug, pentobarbital — similar to protocols used in hundreds of state executions and repeatedly upheld by federal courts, including the Supreme Court, as consistent with the Eighth Amendment, the DOJ announced.

Last year the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit blocked the execution of a federal inmate.

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Shortly afterwards, an Obama-appointed federal judge blocked the scheduled federal execution of four other death-row inmates.

However, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit recently vacated a preliminary injunction preventing the BOP from carrying out executions.

The DOJ said this ‘cleared the way for the federal government to resume capital punishment after a nearly two-decade hiatus.’

The executions are scheduled a few days apart and will begin on July 13.

“The American people, acting through Congress and Presidents of both political parties, have long instructed that defendants convicted of the most heinous crimes should be subject to a sentence of death,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “The four murderers whose executions are scheduled today have received full and fair proceedings under our Constitution and laws. We owe it to the victims of these horrific crimes, and to the families left behind, to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”

In accordance with 28 C.F.R Part 26, the BOP has scheduled executions for the following death row inmates, via the DOJ:

  • Daniel Lewis Lee, a member of a white supremacist group, murdered a family of three, including an eight-year-old girl. After robbing and shooting the victims with a stun gun, Lee covered their heads with plastic bags, sealed the bags with duct tape, weighed down each victim with rocks, and threw the family of three into the Illinois bayou.  On May 4, 1999, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas found Lee guilty of numerous offenses, including three counts of murder in aid of racketeering, and he was sentenced to death.  Lee’s execution is scheduled to occur on July 13, 2020.
  • Wesley Ira Purkey violently raped and murdered a 16-year-old girl, and then dismembered, burned, and dumped the young girl’s body in a septic pond. He also was convicted in state court for using a claw hammer to bludgeon to death an 80-year-old woman who suffered from polio and walked with a cane.  On November 5, 2003, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri found Purkey guilty of kidnapping a child resulting in the child’s death, and he was sentenced to death.  Purkey’s execution is scheduled to occur on July 15, 2020.
  • Dustin Lee Honken shot and killed five people — two men who planned to testify against him, and a single, working mother and her ten-year-old and six-year-old daughters. On October 14, 2004, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa found Honken guilty of numerous offenses, including five counts of murder during the course of a continuing criminal enterprise, and he was sentenced to death.  Honken’s execution is scheduled to occur on July 17, 2020.
  • Keith Dwayne Nelson kidnapped a 10-year-old girl rollerblading in front of her home, and in a forest behind a church, raped her and strangled her to death with a wire. On October 25, 2001, Nelson pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri to the kidnapping and unlawful interstate transportation of a child for the purpose of sexual abuse which resulted in death, and he was sentenced to death.  Nelson’s execution is scheduled to occur on August 28, 2020.



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