Federal executions in U.S. restart in July

Federal executions in U.S. restart in July

Four death-row inmates, including a white supremacist, have been scheduled for execution by the U.S. Justice Department, and will be the first prisoners to be put to death since 2003.

The Justice Department set new dates for executing the four men starting in mid-July following a months-long legal battle that held back the plan.

The inmates who will be executed include among them Daniel Lewis Lee, 48, an avowed white supremacist, convicted for the 1996 murder of a family of three, including an eight-year-old girl in Arkansas.

Wesley Ira Purkey, 68, of Kansas, will be executed for the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl and an 80-year-old woman. A third man scheduled for death is Dustin Lee Honken, 52, who killed five people in Iowa, including two children.

Also to be executed is Keith Dwayne Nelson, 45, who kidnapped a 10-year-old girl who was rollerblading in front of her Kansas home and raped her in a forest behind a church before strangling the young girl to death with a wire.

Lee, Purkley and Honken - are scheduled days apart beginning July 13. Nelson's execution is scheduled for August 28. The Justice Department said additional executions will be set at a later date.

The order to the federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule the four inmates to death comes from Attorney General William Barr, Daily Mail reported.

Three had been scheduled to be put to death when Barr announced the federal government would resume executions last year, ending an informal moratorium on federal capital punishment as the issue receded from the public domain.

Executions on the federal level have been rare and the government has put to death only three defendants since restoring the federal death penalty in 1988. The last came in 2003, when Louis Jones was executed for the 1995 kidnapping, rape and murder of a young female soldier.

Though there hasn't been a federal execution in about 17 years, the Justice Department has continued to approve death penalty prosecutions and federal courts have sentenced defendants to death.