By Nelson Oliveira
New York Daily News
The federal government announced Thursday it would resume capital punishment after a 16-year pause and promptly ordered the execution of five federal inmates.
Attorney General William Barr directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to prepare the executions of five men convicted of murder in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Department of Justice said in a statement.
The executions would take place at U.S. Penitentiary Terre Haute in Indiana from Dec. 9, 2019, to Jan. 15, 2020.
“Under Administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals, including these five murderers, each of whom was convicted by a jury of his peers after a full and fair proceeding,” Barr said in the statement.
The federal inmates who are set to be executed are:
— Daniel Lewis Lee, a member of a white supremacist group who murdered a family of three, including an 8-year-old girl. He was convicted in 1999 in Arkansas.
— Lezmond Mitchell, who fatally stabbed a 63-year-old woman and forced her 9-year-old granddaughter to sit beside her lifeless body for a 30- to 40-mile drive. Mitchell then slit the girl’s throat, crushed her head with 20-pound rocks, and severed and buried both victims’ heads and hands. He was found guilty in Arizona in 2003.
— Wesley Ira Purkey, who raped and murdered a 16-year-old girl and then dismembered, burned and dumped her body in a septic pond. He also was convicted in state court for using a claw hammer to kill an 80-year-old woman who suffered from polio and walked with a cane. He was convicted in Missouri in 2003.
— Alfred Bourgeois, who physically and emotionally tortured, sexually molested and beat to death his 2-year-old daughter. He was sentenced to death in 2004 in Texas.
— Dustin Lee Honken, who shot and killed five people — two men who planned to testify against him, a mother and her 10-year-old and 6-year-old daughters. He was found guilty in 2004 in Iowa.
The government has executed only three inmates since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988. The most recent one was in 2003, when Louis Jones was executed by lethal injection for kidnapping, raping and killing a female soldier.
Two other inmates were executed in 2001 and the last one before those was in 1963, when Victor Feguer was executed by hanging, according to the Bureau of Prisons.
Barr said a newly revised federal execution protocol “closely mirrors” death penalty practices by several states, including Georgia, Missouri and Texas. Federal executions will be carried out with a single drug called pentobarbital, which the department said has been used more than 200 times in 14 states since 2010.
All five inmates have reportedly exhausted their appeals.
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PHOTO (for help with images, contact 312-222-4194): William Barr