KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- A memorial bench in Independence is a place for Jennifer Long’s friends and family to come to remember her. Her stepmother says unfortunately, her family is once again waiting for justice.
What happened to Jennifer Long in 1998 was horrific. Wesley Ira Purkey raped and murdered Long, then dismembered and burned her body.
“It just about killed me. It rerouted my life,” Marilyn Richards who is Long’s stepmother said.
Richards says she got a call this July telling her that Purkey would be executed December 13.
“William Barr had told me when the execution was going to be and he said, ‘if it doesn’t take place on that day, don’t worry about it. It will in time. You will get your justice,’ that’s what he said,” Richards said.
Last month, a judge issued an injunction putting a temporary hold on the federal executions of four death-row inmates, including Purkey, while their attorneys challenged the government’s lethal-injection procedure. The Justice Department appealed that decision, but three appeals court judges kept that temporary hold in place.
“It just took my breath away,” Richards said. “I was devastated. We all were.”
In a written statement from Shawn Nolan, who is an attorney representing the men facing federal executions, said in part, “We are gratified that the Court of Appeals agreed with the District Court. The courts have made clear that the government cannot rush executions in order to avoid judicial review of the legality and constitutionality of its new execution procedure.”
Purkey’s attorneys also filed a complaint questioning his competency stating he is a 67-year-old man with, “Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive form of dementia, and schizophrenia, who has suffered multiple, extensive traumatic brain injuries over several decades.”
“I think it is all a con to tell you the truth,” Richards said.
She hopes the Supreme Court will allow her to feel the relief of knowing Purkey can’t hurt anyone again.
“To overturn it and let him be executed to pay for the crimes he committed,” Richards said.
Purkey was also convicted of beating 80-year-old Mary Ruth Bales to death with a claw hammer in 1998.