Supreme Court Clears Way for Federal Executions

First since 2003 schedule to take place in July
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 29, 2020 11:10 AM CDT
Supreme Court Clears Way for Federal Executions
The sun rises behind the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington on Monday.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to block the execution of four federal prison inmates who are scheduled to be put to death in July and August, per the AP. The executions would mark the first use of the death penalty on the federal level since 2003. The justices rejected an appeal from four inmates who were convicted of killing children. The court's action leaves no obstacles standing in the way of the executions, the first of which is scheduled for July 13. The inmates are separately asking a federal judge in Washington to impose a new delay on their executions over other legal issues that have yet to be resolved. The activity at the high court came after Attorney General William Barr directed the federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule the executions.

The inmates scheduled for execution are:

  • Danny Lee, who was convicted in Arkansas of killing a family of three, including an 8-year-old.
  • Wesley Ira Purkey, of Kansas, who raped and murdered a 16-year-old girl and killed an 80-year-old woman.
  • Dustin Lee Honken, who killed five people in Iowa, including two children.
  • Keith Dwayne Nelson, who kidnapped a 10-year-old girl who was in-line skating in front of her Kansas home and raped her in a forest behind a church before strangling the young girl with a wire.
(More death penalty stories.)

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