Honken, Purkey and Lee: Last words and meal requests of the 1st death row convicts to be executed in 17 years

As the trio was executed, they expressed their views for the final time, with one even maintaining his innocence till his last breath and requesting three meals that “should speak for itself"


                            Honken, Purkey and Lee: Last words and meal requests of the 1st death row convicts to be executed in 17 years
Daniel Lee, Wesley Purkey, Dustin Honken. (Spokane Police Department, Kansas Department of Corrections, Mason City Police Department)
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Three death row convicts, Daniel Lewis Lee, Wesley Ira Purkey, and Dustin Honken were put to death last week in a series of first federal executions in 17 years in the United States. The attorneys of each convict tried to block their clients' executions in last-ditch attempts to save their lives, two of them nearly succeeded only for the Supreme Court to ultimately give the green light to the Trump administration to go ahead. 

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As the trio was executed, they expressed their views for the final time, with one even maintaining his innocence till his last breath. Here's what Lee, Purkey, and Honken wished to eat for their final meals and the words they spoke as they left the world:

Daniel Lewis Lee

Lee, a 47-year-old white supremacist, who tortured and killed an Arkansas family in 1996, was executed in Indiana early morning on Tuesday, June 14. Lee was injected with a lethal dose of pentobarbital at 8:07 AM, just hours after the Supreme Court gave a go-ahead to the Trump administration. Just before his death, Lee reportedly implored to the media at his execution to ask the judge about DNA evidence that was left out of his trial.

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“I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, but I’m not a murderer. You’re killing an innocent man,” He had said.

He reportedly wanted three last meals before his execution. The death row convict had said that his first, second and final meal request “should speak for itself," according to WTHI. However, what he ultimately ate may remain a mystery. A prison official in Terre Haute, Indiana, reportedly told the New York Post: "We will not be providing details of Mr. Lee’s last meal."

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Lee remained strapped on a gurney for four hours after midnight as the Trump administration sought to lift a court-ordered stay on his death sentence.

Wesley Ira Purkey

Purkey, a 68-year-old on death row for rape and murders in 1998, was executed on Thursday, July 16, by lethal injection as the Trump administration carried out its second federal execution. Purkey was put to death at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, at 8:19 a.m. local time. The 68-year-old, who was reportedly suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's, before his execution, said: "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."

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Purkey, from Lansing, Kansas, was given the death sentence for raping and killing a 16-year-old girl, Jennifer Long, in Kansas City, Missouri, 1998.

Prison officials stated that Purkey — owing to his mental illness — lacked in understanding and put aside the pecan pie in his last meal for later. He reportedly did not understand that there wouldn’t be any later, according to Kansascity.com. Purkey, the night before he was put to death, saw Bill Clinton on television and said that he intended to vote for him in November elections.

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Dustin Honken

Death-row inmate Dustin Lee Honken, who killed a family of four, including two children and another person, was executed on Friday, July 17, at 4 pm local time, marking the government's third federal execution in a month after 17 years. Although details of his last meal were not revealed, Honken, in his last words, recited a poem by an English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ called Heaven-Heaven.

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"I have desired to go, Where springs not fail, To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail, And a few lilies blow. And I have asked to be, Where no storms come, Where the green swell is in the havens dumb, And out of the swing of the sea," he said.