25.02.2024

US executes second man this week after lawyers argued dementia made him mentally unfit

Wesley Ira Purkey was executed by lethal injection on Thursday at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana.

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The United States has carried out its second federal execution this week by putting to death a Kansas man who lawyers argued was mentally unfit for lethal injection.

Purkey was sentenced to death in 2004 after he was convicted in federal court for the 1998 kidnapping and killing of a 16-year-old girl before dismembering, burning, and dumping her bond in a pond.

“I deeply regret the pain and suffering I caused to Jennifer’s family,” Purkey said before his execution. “I am deeply sorry. I deeply regret the pain I caused to my daughter, who I love so very much. This sanitised murder really does not serve no purpose whatsoever.”

The execution came after the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the government could lift an injunction that blocked putting Purkey to death.

US District Judge Tanya Chutkan issued an injunction Wednesday prohibiting the Federal Bureau of Prisons from executing Purkey over concerns he wasn’t mentally fit.

The judge ruled Purkey suffers from progressive dementia, schizophrenia, and severe mental illness and ordered the court to further evaluate his mental stability. She did not rule whether he was mentally fit or not to stand the execution.

But the Supreme Court lifted the injunction, allowing for the government to carry out the execution just after 8am EST.

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