‘I hope he rots in hell’: KC victim’s family speaks out after Kansas man executed

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Time ran out Thursday morning for a Kansas man convicted of abducting and murdering a metro teen.

Wesley Ira Purkey died by lethal injection at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, at 7:19 a.m.

Purkey abducted 16-year-old Jennifer Long from Kansas City, Missouri, in 1998. He then killed her in his basement.

Members of Long’s family and one of her friends attended his execution Thursday.

“I’ve been waiting 17 years,” her father said moments after Purkey was executed.

Purkey was on death row for 17 years. His execution was originally scheduled to take place Wednesday, but appeals filed by his post-conviction team delayed his death for hours.

Wesley Purkey picture
This May 2000 photo provided by the Kansas Department of Corrections shows Wesley Ira Purkey, who was convicted of kidnapping and killing a 16-year-old girl, and was sentenced to death. Purkey’s execution is scheduled to occur on July 15, 2020, in Terre Haute, Ind. (Kansas Department of Corrections via AP)

They argued that Purkey suffered from dementia and mental illness and didn’t remember killing Jennifer.

“There’s monsters out there that need to be gotten rid of, that need to be put down like the dogs they are. There’s no excuse for it,” Jennifer’s father William Long said.

Purkey already had an extensive criminal record when he ran into Jennifer in January 1998. She got into his truck and disappeared.

Purkey confessed to killing her years later while serving time for another metro woman. Her family waited years to learn what happened to the teen.

“It brings up everything all over again,” her father said. “You sit there and relive it. I’ve been reliving it for – she was missing for five years before we even found out what was happening.”

Purkey was convicted of violently raping and murdering 16-year-old Jennifer Long of Kansas City.

Purkey’s final words included an apology to Jennifer’s family and friends.

According to witnesses to the execution, Purkey leaned his head up slightly and said, “I deeply regret the pain and suffering I caused to Jennifer’s family. I am deeply sorry.”

That apology fell on deaf ears.

“I didn’t give a ***. It didn’t mean much to us,” William Long said. “He’s not very genuine. I hope he rots in hell. I really do. He’s a very manipulative individual.”

Purkey is the second inmate to be executed at the federal prison in Terre Haute this week.

He’s also one of two convicted killers from the metro who was on death row this summer. The second, Keith Nelson, is scheduled to be executed Aug. 28 for the 1999 murder of Pamela Butler.

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