A convicted killer who reportedly suffers from dementia became the second person executed by the federal government this week after the Supreme Court issued a late-night ruling allowing it to go forward, CNN reports.
Wesley Purkey, 68, was executed Thursday morning, becoming the second person executed by the federal government since 2003.
Purcey was sentenced to death after he was convicted of killing 16-year-old Jennifer Long in 1998.
"I deeply regret the pain and suffering I caused to Jennifer's family. I am deeply sorry. I deeply regret the pain I caused to my daughter, who I love so very much,” he said before his death. "This sanitized murder really does not serve no purpose whatsoever.”
Purkey suffered from dementia, lawyer says:
Attorney Rebecca Woodman said Purkey is "a 68-year old, severely brain-damaged and mentally ill man who suffers from advanced Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Though he has long accepted responsibility for his crime, he no longer has a rational understanding of why the government plans to execute him."
Long’s mother lamented that the execution took too long.
"It just took way too long," Olivia Long said. "All these appeals, some of them he put through several times. And then we sat in a van for four hours this morning while he did a bunch more appeals. ... We just shouldn't have to wait this long."
"It brings up everything all over again. You just sit there and relive it,” added Long’s stepfather, William Long. "Every day for the rest of my life I will think of it, I will remember it and it is not something any parent should have to live through."
Supreme Court approved the execution:
The Supreme Court paved the way for the execution in a 5-4 unsigned decision issued around 2 am, just as its decision in the first execution.
A lower court had blocked the execution and ordered an evaluation of Purkey’s mental competency but the conservatives on the Supreme Court lifted the injunction.
"There was no reason for this administration to restart federal executions now -- after a nearly two-decade hiatus, during the worst public health crisis of our lifetime -- except to distract from its mainly failings, particularly its failure to keep people safe during this pandemic," Cassandra Stubbs, director of the ACLU's Capital Punishment Project, told CNN.