US executes 2nd man in a week; lawyers said he had dementia

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In this 1998 photo, Wesley Ira Purkey, center, is escorted by police officers in Kansas City, Kan., after he was arrested in connection with the death of 80-year-old Mary Ruth Bales. Purkey was also convicted of kidnapping and killing a 16-year-old girl and is scheduled to be executed on July 15, 2020, in Terre Haute, Ind. (Jim Barcus/The Kansas City Star via AP)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The United States on Thursday carried out its second federal execution in three days following a hiatus of nearly two decades, killing by lethal injection a Kansas man whose lawyers contended he had dementia and was unfit to be executed.

Wesley Ira Purkey was put to death at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was sentenced to be executed for kidnapping and killing a 16-year-old girl, Jennifer Long, before dismembering, burning and dumping her body in a septic pond. He also was convicted in a state court in Kansas of using a claw hammer to kill an 80-year-old woman who had polio.

After Purkey was strapped to a gurney inside the execution chamber, a prison official removed a mask from his face and asked if he wanted to make a final statement.

He leaned his head up slightly from the gurney and said: “I deeply regret the pain and suffering I caused to Jennifer’s family. I am deeply sorry."

He also expressed remorse for his own adult daughter's suffering from his actions. "I deeply regret the pain I caused to my daughter, who I love so very much,” he said.

His last words were: “This sanitized murder really does not serve no purpose whatsoever. Thank you.”

As the lethal chemical was injected, Purkey took several deep breaths and blinked repeatedly, laying his head back down on the gurney. His time of death was 8:19 a.m. EDT.

Jennifer’s father, William Long, and her stepmother were there. Long said delays since the 2003 trial were excruciating and he was glad it was over.