- The Washington Times - Monday, June 15, 2020

The Justice Department on Monday scheduled new dates to begin executing federal death-row inmates with four individuals convicted of murdering children set to die later this summer.

The executions will be the U.S. government’s first since 2003.

Of the four men scheduled to be put to death, three were set to die last year when Attorney General William P. Barr announced the government would resume executions. However, a protracted legal battle over the methods to execute inmates had postponed the deaths.

The inmates set to be executed are:

• Danny Lewis Lee, a white supremacist who killed a family of three, including an eight-year-old girl, more than 20 years ago in Arkansas.

• Wesley Ira Purkey, who raped and murdered a 16-old girl and bludgeoned to death an 80-year-old woman in Missouri. He was convicted in 2003.

• Dustin Lee Honken, who shot and killed five people, including a single mom and her two daughters, aged 10 and six years old in Iowa. He was convicted in 2004.

• Keith Dwayne Nelson, who kidnapped, raped and murdered a 10-year-old girl more than 20 years ago in Missouri.

Lee, Purkey, and Honken are scheduled to be executed on July 13, 15 and 17, respectively. Nelson’s execution is set for August 28.

“The four murderers whose executions are scheduled today have received full and fair proceedings under our Constitution and laws. We owe it to the victims of these horrific crimes, and to the families left behind, to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system,” Mr. Barr said in a statement.

Additional executions could be scheduled at a later date, the Justice Department said.

Mr. Barr had announced last year the federal government would resume inmate executions, ending what had been an informal halt on capital punishment for nearly 20 years.

The Justice Department immediately scheduled five executions, including those of three of the inmates whose execution dates were announced Monday. That effort was halted by a trial judge. A federal appeals court in April overruled the judge’s order.

Lawyers for the inmates who were part of the lawsuit have asked the Supreme Court to weigh in.

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