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Three executions set for Terre Haute's federal prison next week - here's what they were convicted of doing

Three executions are set for next week at Terre Haute's federal prison. Learn more about the three prisoners here.

Posted: Jul 6, 2020 5:31 PM
Updated: Jul 14, 2020 9:57 AM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Federal executions take place in Terre Haute, and it has been 17-years since the last one.

That is set to change next week.

There are three executions set for July and a fourth one set for August.

WHO WILL BE EXECUTED?

The Department of Justice says all of these prisoners were convicted of killing children. All of them have pending litigation in the court system to try and stop or delay the executions.

DANIEL LEWIS LEE - EXECUTION SET FOR JULY 13

In 1999, a jury found Daniel Lewis Lee guilty of killing a family of three from Arkansas. An eight-year-old girl was among the victims.

The Department of Justice says Lee and another man robbed and shot them in 1996. After that, they covered the victims heads with plastic bags, weighed them down, and threw them into a body of water.

There are people involved with this case who say Lee should not be executed. This includes the original trial prosecutor and judge in the case, as well as the woman who is the mother and grandmother to two of the victims.

They say the other man in the crime received a life sentence, so Lee's shouldn't be any more severe.

We talked with a national non-profit called the 'Death Penalty Information Center' about this case. The executive director says it is rare to have opposition from these parties. He says in state cases, in which this has happened, the governors have granted clemency.

“So we will see here if President Trump honors the wishes of one of his own supporters. Or, simply is more interested in having a prisoner executed,” said Robert Dunham, who is the Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center.

WESLEY IRA PURKEY - EXECUTION SET FOR JULY 15

In 2003, a jury in Missouri found Wesley Ira Purkey guilty of kidnapping a child, resulting in the child's death.

The Department of Justice says Purkey raped and murdered a 16-year-old girl before dismembering, burning, and dumping her in a pond.

He was also convicted of killing an elderly woman.

Purkey's legal team argues he cannot be executed because he is no longer able to understand why he is being put to death. They say this violates his 8th Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment.

Court documents detail his history of mental illness, paranoia, and dementia.

On Friday. the U.S. 7th District Appeals Court granted a stay for Purkey. It will expire pending the proceedings in that court.

Meanwhile, the government says Purkey has come to the end of the line. The judges say his case meets the requirements for a stay.

In the order, they noted this case deserves the same consideration and deliberation as any other.

DUSTIN LEE HONKEN - EXECUTION SET FOR JULY 17

In 2004, a Jury in Iowa found Dustin Lee Honken guilty of murdering five people. That includes two informants, a girlfriend of one of them, and her two young daughters.

Honken's attorney says cases could have been prosecuted in state court. In Iowa, the death penalty is not legal.

The attorney says Honken has mental health problems and that his trial and sentencing were plagued with misconduct and ineffectiveness.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

There is multiple court case which take issue to their executions along with execution protocols. Judges could still make decisions that stop these executions, even if only temporarily.

We expect more motions to be filed leading up to the executions dates.

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