AG Barr Orders Execution of 4 Federal Prisoners Convicted of Murdering Children

By Michael W. Chapman | June 16, 2020 | 2:32pm EDT
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

(CNS News) -- Attorney General William P. Barr ordered the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to schedule the executions by lethal injection of four federal prisoners who were convicted of murdering children and, "in two cases, raped the children they murdered," said the Department of Justice on Monday, June 15.

Last year, Barr directed the BOP to revise the Federal Execution Protocol to use the drug pentobarbital for executions. This protocol is followed in state executions and has been upheld by federal courts and the Supreme Court, said the DOJ.  The order was delayed by a district court injunction but that has been lifted, "clearing the way for the federal government to resume capital punishment after a nearly two decade hiatus," said the DOJ.

Attorney General William P. Barr.  (Getty Images)
Attorney General William P. Barr. (Getty Images)

“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 Barr. 

“The four murderers whose executions are scheduled today have received full and fair proceedings under our Constitution and laws," he said. "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.”

Daniel Lewis Lee.
Daniel Lewis Lee.

Describing the four men now scheduled for execution in July and August, the DOJ said,

  • 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.
Wesley Ira Purkey.
  • 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.
Dustin Lee Honken.
Dustin Lee Honken.
  • 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.

Each one of the four killers has exhausted all legal remedies and will be executed in the U.S. Penitentiary Terre Haute, Indiana. 

Keith Dwayne Nelson.
Keith Dwayne Nelson.

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