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Death Row inmate made major ‘mistake’ with last meal before being executed

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Given that a last meal is often one of the few things Death Row inmates have left to look forward to, you’d think they would ensure nothing goes wrong with it.



However, Wesley Ira Purkey made a significant error when it came time for his final meal before his execution in 2020. Purkey, 68, from Kansas, was sentenced to death for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of 16-year-old Jennifer Long in January 1998.

Purkey confessed to these crimes while serving a life sentence for another murder he committed nine months later. In October 1998, he brutally killed 80-year-old Mary Bales with a claw hammer.

Purkey had lured Jennifer Long into his car on January 22, 1998, in Kansas City, Missouri. He then bought alcohol and took her across state lines to his home in Lansing, Kansas.

Concerns arose when Jennifer did not show up for school.

But horrifically, Jennifer would never be seen again as her abductor had raped her before brutally stabbing her repeatedly in the chest, face and neck as she tried to escape.

The killer then callously stuffed her body inside a toolbox before purchasing an electric chainsaw, which he later used to dismember her body before burning her remains in a fireplace and scattering them in a septic pond in Clearwater, Kansas.

Jennifer’s concerned mother reported her daughter missing and police listed her as a runaway – but this is something which her family were never convinced of.

It was only when Purkey confessed to the crimes that her loved ones got answers about what had happened to the teen.

Ahead of his execution four years ago, there were concerns that the killer may have been suffering from dementia and didn’t exactly understand what was going to happen.

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The way he treated his final meal of pecan pie seemed to be a huge indicator of this.

You see, Purkey had told officials who brought his grub to him that he wanted to save it for ‘later’ – suggesting he was seemingly unaware that there wouldn’t be a ‘later’ for him.

But despite delays, the Supreme Court gave the green light for the decision to put him to death and on 16 July, 2020, his execution went ahead.

Purkey was given a lethal injection and medical expert Dr Gail Van Norman says that the Death Row inmate likely experienced an ‘excruciating’ passing, rather than a painless one

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, the 68-year-old’s autopsy revealed that he had suffered ‘severe bilateral acute pulmonary oedema’ and ‘frothy pulmonary oedema in trachea and main stem bronchi’.

Van Norman said this would cause a near drowning experience that would likely be ‘among the most excruciating feelings known to man’, and that the filling of Purkey’s lungs could only have happened while he was still alive.

He added: “It is a virtual medical certainty, that most, if not all, prisoners will experience excruciating suffering, including sensations of drowning and suffocation from [the lethal injection drug] pentobarbital.”

In his final moments, Purkey appeared to show remorse for his crimes and apologised to Jennifer’s family.

Reports claim his last word were: “I deeply regret the pain and suffering I caused to Jennifer’s family.

“I am deeply sorry. I deeply regret the pain I caused to my daughter, who I love so very much. This sanitized murder really does not serve no purpose whatsoever.”

Jennifer’s father, William Long, said of Purkey’s execution: “He needed to take his last breath – he took my daughter’s last breath. And there’s some resolve. There is no closure, and there never will be, because I won’t get my daughter back.”

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Birminghamgist Staff is a News Reporter, making waves in the UK with insightful and Engaging reporting.

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