Keith Nelson has been executed, becoming the 5th federal inmate to be put to death in Terre Haute this year

News 10's Alia Blackburn reports Keith Dwayne Nelson has been executed.

Posted: Aug 28, 2020 1:45 PM
Updated: Aug 28, 2020 6:33 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - News 10's Alia Blackburn reports Keith Dwayne Nelson has been executed.

Blackburn served as a media witnesses to the execution.

Waiting to Die: A summer of federal executions

This summer, News 10's Heather Good and Sarah Lehman have served as media witnesses to the federal executions. These links are their accounts of what they witnessed. 

WAITING TO DIE: DANIEL LEWIS LEE EXECUTION

WAITING TO DIE: WESLEY IRA PURKEY EXECUTION

WAITING TO DIE: DUSTIN LEE HONKEN EXECUTION

WAITING TO DIE: LEZMOND MITCHELL

His time of death was 4:32 pm. The lethal injection started around 4:23 and took nine minutes.

When Nelson was asked if he had any final words, he sat in complete silence.

Who was Keith Nelson?
Then in his mid-20s, Nelson grabbed 10-year-old Pamela Butler off the street and threw her into his truck in broad daylight on Oct. 12, 1999. The fifth-grade student had been returning to her Kansas City, Kansas, home on inline skates after buying cookies at a store. As he drove off, he made a rude gesture to Butler’s sister, who saw the attack and screamed.
Nelson, who didn’t previously know Butler or her family, told a co-worker a month earlier he planned to find a female to kidnap, torture, rape and kill because he expected to go back to prison anyway on other charges, prosecutors said.

After raping Butler, Nelson strangled her with a wire, then dumped her body in a wooded area near a Missouri church.

LINK | COMPLETE COVERAGE OF FEDERAL EXECUTIONS

Department of Justice Statement 

“Today, Keith Dwayne Nelson was executed at U.S. Penitentiary Terre Haute in accordance with the capital sentence recommended by a jury in 2001 and imposed by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri in 2002. Mitchell was pronounced dead at 4:32 p.m. EDT by the Vigo County Coroner.

In October 1999, Nelson told an acquaintance that he wanted to kidnap, rape, torture, and kill a young girl he had seen in Kansas City, Kansas. Shortly thereafter, Nelson parked his white pickup truck outside the home of 10-year-old Pamela Butler, who was rollerblading nearby. As Pamela skated by the truck, Nelson grabbed her around the waist, threw her into the truck, and sped away as Pamela’s sisters looked on in terror. Sometime later that day, Nelson raped Pamela, strangled her to death with a wire, and buried her in a forest behind a church in Kansas City, Missouri. In October 2001, Nelson pleaded guilty to the kidnapping and unlawful interstate transportation of a child for the purpose of sexual abuse resulting in death, and the district court, consistent with a federal jury’s recommendation, later sentenced him to death. His conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal, and his claims for collateral relief were denied by every court that considered them.

More than two decades after viciously taking the life of Pamela Butler, causing untold devastation to those who loved her, Nelson finally faced the justice he deserved. Family members of Pamela Butler, including her mother, attended the execution and witnessed implementation of the sentence for Nelson’s horrific crime.”

An appeal
On Thursday morning, the United States DC Court stopped Nelson's execution. A judge said the government needed to obtain a prescription for the lethal injection drug.

The judge cited the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

The government appealed, saying this didn't need to happen in other executions.

The execution is now set to happen as planned.

If Nelson’s lawyer appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court on the prescription issue, the decision on whether Nelson lives or dies Friday could still come down to the high court. But similar moves to delay three other executions last month failed, with the high court ruling 5-4 to allow them to proceed.

A summer of executions
This would mark the fifth federal execution of the summer in Terre Haute. Before that, there had not been a federal execution since 2003.

In 2020, the government has executed Lezmond Mitchell, Dustin Lee Honkin, Ira Purkey, and Daniel Lewis Lee

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