TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — The federal government has executed Keith Dwayne Nelson, who killed a 10-year-old KCK girl in 1999.
Ten-year-old Pamela Butler was rollerblading in front of her Kansas City, Kansas home in 1999. Nelson then drove up to the home and abducted her. He later raped her before strangling her to death with a wire.
The execution by lethal injection took place at 3:32 p.m. central time Friday at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, federal officials say.
When a prison official standing over him asked if he had any last words, he was met with silence. Nelson didn’t utter a word, grunt or nod his head.
After the official waited for about 15 seconds, his eyes fixed on Nelson waiting in vain for an answer, the official turned away and began the execution procedure. He was pronounced dead about nine minutes after the lethal injection began.
Sister Barbara Battista of the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, a group that opposes the death penalty, was inside the death chamber during his execution at his request.
Nelson was arrested on the banks of the Kansas River two days after Butler disappeared. He pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri in 2001 and was sentenced to death.
He has been sitting on death row ever since, exhausting all possible appeals.
The execution was almost delayed after a judge said Thursday that the law requires the government to get a prescription for the drug it plans to use. That ruling was overturned later that night by a higher court.
Nelson is now the fifth federal inmate executed this year and the second this week.
Pamela’s mother, Cherri West, spoke following the execution saying she feels at peace and that she feels her daughter is now at rest.
For Pamela’s family, the execution came none to soon.
“Finally, it’s taken long enough,” Stacy Mangels, a family friend, previously told FOX4. “It’s been a very long 21 years for her family. We need justice for her, and it’s so close.”