Local law enforcement will use extra man-power during federal executions

Federal executions will take place this coming December right here in Vigo County and county sheriff says they'll have to beef up patrols during those times.

Posted: Jul 31, 2019 10:25 PM
Updated: Aug 1, 2019 6:29 AM

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) -- It's less than 4 months until the 1st execution in 2 decades will take place in Vigo County. And Sheriff John Plasse said he and his officers have already been called on to help with extra patrols when the time comes.

He said the county and city departments have already met to go over game plans for those days.

People set to be executed in Terre Haute in 2019 - 2020

  • Daniel Lewis Lee, a member of a white supremacist group, murdered a family of three, including an eight-year-old girl. After robbing and shooting the victims with a stun gun, Lee covered their heads with plastic bags, sealed the bags with duct tape, weighed down each victim with rocks, and threw the family of three into the Illinois bayou. On May 4, 1999, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas found Lee guilty of numerous offenses, including three counts of murder in aid of racketeering, and he was sentenced to death. Lee’s execution is scheduled to occur on Dec. 9, 2019
  • Lezmond Mitchell stabbed to death a 63-year-old grandmother and forced her nine-year-old granddaughter to sit beside her lifeless body for a 30 to 40-mile drive. Mitchell then slit the girl’s throat twice, crushed her head with 20-pound rocks, and severed and buried both victims’ heads and hands. On May 8, 2003, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona found Mitchell guilty of numerous offenses, including first-degree murder, felony murder, and carjacking resulting in murder, and he was sentenced to death. Mitchell’s execution is scheduled to occur on Dec. 11, 2019.
  • Wesley Ira Purkey violently raped and murdered a 16-year-old girl, and then dismembered, burned, and dumped the young girl’s body in a septic pond. He also was convicted in state court for using a claw hammer to bludgeon to death an 80-year-old woman who suffered from polio and walked with a cane. On Nov. 5, 2003, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri found Purkey guilty of kidnapping a child resulting in the child’s death, and he was sentenced to death. Purkey’s execution is scheduled to occur on Dec. 13, 2019.
  • Alfred Bourgeois physically and emotionally tortured, sexually molested, and then beat to death his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. On March 16, 2004, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas found Bourgeois guilty of multiple offenses, including murder, and he was sentenced to death. Bourgeois’ execution is scheduled to occur on Jan. 13, 2020.
  • Dustin Lee Honken shot and killed five people—two men who planned to testify against him and a single, working mother and her ten-year-old and six-year-old daughters. On Oct. 14, 2004, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa found Honken guilty of numerous offenses, including five counts of murder during the course of a continuing criminal enterprise, and he was sentenced to death. Honken’s execution is scheduled to occur on Jan. 15, 2020.

He said they have no say what the government does in the federal prison, but they do want to make sure their citizens and visitors are kept safe.

He said they've already had a run-through of what the county's duties are when its time for the executions. Their biggest job when the prison is executing an inmate is to make sure any protestors or counter-protesters are safe and peaceful.

"We encourage peaceful protesting. That's what I think this nation was founded on, your first amendment right to say what you want and to voice your opinion and we respect that," Plasse said. "It's just when those people become violent and put other people at risk is when we have to step in and stop that kind of behavior

Plasse said he doesn't think the government will give the county additional money for the extra manpower being used during the executions days.

Executions are set to start this December. 

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