US federal executions continue with the execution of the only Native American man on federal death row, and a man who was sentenced in Missouri Federal Court
The federal government has executed three people on federal death row this summer. Daniel Lee (executed 7/15/20), Wesley Purkey (executed 7/16/20), and Dustin Honken (7/17/20) were executed by lethal injection in Terre Haute, Indiana. This week two more federal executions are scheduled to take place, Lezmond Mitchell (scheduled 8/26/20) and Keith Nelson (scheduled 8/28/20). Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty is holding execution watches and vigils in Kansas City and Springfield.
On August 26th Lezmond Mitchell is scheduled to be executed for the 2001 murders of Alyce Sims and her granddaughter Tiffany Lee, two other Navajo Nation citizens, during a carjacking in October 2001. Several judges who have reviewed Mitchell’s case have raised questions about the DOJ’s insistence of having the Navajo man sentenced to death. This week, a broad coalition of Native tribes joined the Navajo Nation to ask President Trump to grant Mitchell clemency. The execution of Mitchell will showcase the federal government’s long-held disrespect for tribal sovereignty by perpetuating colonial violence against a member of the Navajo Nation.
On August 28th, Keith Nelson is scheduled to be executed for the 1999 murder of 10-year-old Pamela Butler, who was found in Grain Valley, Missouri. According to his attorney, Dale Baich, Nelson was sentenced to death after “a trial plagued by ineffective counsel that committed crucial errors and failed to conduct even the most basic investigation.” Because of his counsel’s performance, the jury never heard mitigating evidence about the trauma and neglect that Mr. Nelson experienced as a child, including significant brain damage, repeated childhood sexual and physical abuse, and a multigenerational family history marked with severe mental illness. “Mr. Nelson’s death sentence is the result of a proceeding that denied him constitutionally guaranteed protections and reveals another deep flaw in the federal death penalty system,” said Baich.
MADP will be hosting execution watches and vigils for all victims of the death penalty, in Kansas City, from 2:30 – 3:30 PM CST PM in front of the Kansas City Federal Courthouse – 400 E 9th Street, KCMO, and in Springfield, Missouri from 12:00 – 1:00 PM in front of the Federal Courthouse 222 S John Q Hammons Pkwy #1400, Springfield, MO 65806. Social Distancing and masks are mandatory for all in-person events.
You can find out more information about the federal death penalty by visiting www.deathpenaltyinfo.org. For more information about our events and programming, visit www.madpmo.org or contact [email protected].
Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the use of the death penalty in the state of Missouri.