US executes Kansas man; lawyers said he had dementia

Kansas man brutally killed an 80-year-old woman and 16-year-old girl. His lawyer's said he had dementia from Alzheimer's disease and other mental health conditions.

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National News

July 16, 2020 - 10:03 AM

A sign directs visitors to the entrance of the Federal Correctional Complex Terre Haute on July 25, 2019 in Terre Haute, Indiana. An inmate scheduled to be executed at the penitentiary had his execution halted. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — The United States on Thursday carried out its second federal execution this week, 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. Purkey was convicted of 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 after using a claw hammer to kill an 80-year-old woman who had polio.

Purkey was strapped to a gurney inside the execution chamber. A prison official removed a mask from Purkey’s face and asked him if he wanted to make a final statement. 

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