Three federal prisoners were executed at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute this week. They marked the first federal executions in 17 years.
Two of them were delayed by several hours due to last minute appeals. The third happened as scheduled at 4:00 Friday afternoon.
So just who were these men and what crimes did they commit?
Daniel Lewis Lee died at 8:07 Tuesday morning.
The 47-year-old was a white supremacist was convicted in Arkansas of killing gun dealer, William Mueller, his wife Nancy and Nancy’s daughter, Sarah Powell, 8.
He and his accomplice stole guns and $50,000. The Department of Justice also says Lee duct tape plastic bags over the victims heads, weighted them down with rocks and threw them in the water.
But Lee maintained his innocence to the end. While strapped to a gurney, he lifted his head and shoulders and looked directly at the media witnessing the execution.
His final words, “You’re killing an innocent man.”
His accomplice is serving life.
Wesley Ira Purkey died by lethal injection at 8:19 Thursday morning.
He was convicted of raping, murdering and dismembering Jennifer Long, 16, in Missouri.
Her dad, step-mom and a family friend watched the execution wearing t-shirts with Jennifer’s picture.
The victim’s dad, William Long said, “I’ve been dreaming about this for 17 years. Long wait. Long wait for something you think about everyday.”
At the end, Purkey, 68, apologized for the pain he caused Jennifer’s family.
The family felt Purkey’s apology was insincere.
While he admitted to what he’d done, Purkey did not think he should be put to death.
His final words, “This sanitized murder really does not serve no purpose whatsoever.”
Dustin Lee Honken died at 4:36 Friday afternoon.
The former Iowa drug kingpin was convicted of killing five people in the early 90’s.
Greg Nicholson and Terry DeGeus were going to testify against Honken at a trial involving his meth operation. Honken was convicted in their deaths.
Nicholson lived with single mother Lori Duncan and her two daughters, Kandace, 10, and Amber, 6. They too were killed.
When asked if he had any final words Honken recited the poem, Heaven-Haven.
He then said a prayer. His last words, “Holy Mary Mother of Grace Pray for me.”
Some of the victims’ family members watched the execution.
In a statement the family of Lori Duncan and the little girls wrote in part, “27 years ago two beautiful girls and their mother was taken from us by a violent criminal and his girlfriend. For 27 years we grieved while their killers lived on.”
The statement goes also says, “Finally justice is done. It will bring a sense of closure, but we will continue to live with their loss.”
The family of Terry DeGeus gave this statement, “The reason for us being present today was not to watch a man die. It was to show love support and respect to my daughter’s father, Terry. That we loved him to the end and still do. It was the least we could do.”
Honken’s accomplice remains in prison.
Another execution is scheduled at the federal prison in Terre Haute on August 28th.