‘Finally’: Pamela Butler’s loved ones ready to see justice as killer set to be executed in Terre Haute

Federal Executions

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (WDAF) — It was a murder case that captivated the Kansas City metro 21 years ago.

The man who, in 1999, murdered 10-year-old Pamela Butler is due to be executed this Friday at a penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., not a moment too soon for Butler’s family.

Court records show Butler was rollerskating outside her home in Kansas City, Kansas, when Keith Nelson, a neighbor, pulled her into his pickup truck. He was arrested two days later, and eventually, confessed to strangling and sexually assaulting the girl.

Butler’s final resting place is a cemetery in Wyandotte County, where family supporters have gathered all week, decorating her gravestone in purple. Her mother, Cherri West, said it was Pamela’s favorite color. 

On Thursday morning, Nelson’s attorneys had filed a complaint that the government’s use of pentobarbital was illegal. That appeal was struck down by a higher court.

Nelson is due to be executed Friday. On Thursday afternoon, an appellate judge ruled the execution by lethal injection would go on as scheduled.

“It’s still hard for the family after 21 years,” Cynde Williams, a family friend, said Thursday. “Everyone is happy he’s getting executed. It should have happened years ago, but it’s happening now, and it’s going to end.”

“Finally, it’s taken long enough,” Stacy Mangels, another family friend, told FOX4. “It’s been a very long 21 years for her family. We need justice for her, and it’s so close.”

West plans to attend Friday’s execution in Indiana. She recently commented that his death would be an “eye for an eye,” and that her daughter, who would now be in her 30s, deserves it.

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