The US Supreme Court early Thursday cleared the way for a second federal execution this week. The vote to permit the execution of Wesley Ira Purkey to go ahead was 5-4, with the court docket’s 4 liberal members dissenting.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that “proceeding with Purkey’s execution now, despite the grave questions and factual findings regarding his mental competency, casts a shroud of constitutional doubt over the most irrevocable of injuries.” She was joined by fellow liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.
But a decrease court docket put an emergency maintain on the execution for one hour because it weighed points within the case, additional delaying what initially had been slated for Wednesday night on the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Purkey was convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing a 16-year-old woman earlier than dismembering, burning after which dumping her physique in a septic pond. He additionally was convicted in a state court docket in Kansas after utilizing a claw hammer to kill an 80-year-old lady who suffered from polio.
On Tuesday, Daniel Lewis Lee was put to dying on the facility after his eleventh hour authorized bids failed. It was the primary federal execution after a 17-year hiatus.
Lawyers for the 68-year-old Purkey, of Kansas, argued that he has dementia and is unfit to be executed. They stated his situation has deteriorated so severely that he didn’t perceive why he was being executed. They additionally stated that if Purkey’s execution didn’t happen Wednesday, the federal government would want to set a brand new date. But authorities attorneys stated there was no impediment to going by means of with the execution Thursday if the Supreme Court lifted the injunctions.
The difficulty of Purkey’s psychological well being arose within the run-up to his 2003 trial and when, after the decision, jurors needed to resolve whether or not he must be put to dying within the killing of 16-year-old Jennifer Long in Kansas City, Missouri. Prosecutors stated he raped and stabbed her, dismembered her with a chainsaw, burned her and dumped her ashes 200 miles (320 kilometers) away in a septic pond in Kansas. Purkey was individually convicted and sentenced to life within the beating dying of 80-year-old Mary Ruth Bales, of Kansas City, Kansas, who suffered from polio.