KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Cherri West said she relives the moment her daughter was taken every day of her life. Now, after 21 years, she will witness the killer’s execution.
Ten-year-old Pamela Butler was rollerblading in front of her Kansas City, Kansas home in 1999. Keith Dwayne Nelson then drove up to the home and abducted her. He later raped her before strangling her to death with a wire.
Nelson was arrested on the banks of the Kansas River two days after Butler’s disappearance. 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.
Then earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice set execution dates for four criminals on death row, including Nelson. The Supreme Court refused to block the executions, which were the first since 2003.
“Making sure Pamela gets her justice. That was my number one focus,” Cherri West told FOX4 at the airport before she left for Terre Haute on Aug. 27.
As West was on her flight, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan halted the execution because she said the government needed to get a prescription for the lethal injection drug. A three-judge panel in the court of appeals issued a response hours later, stating there was no evidence any harm would happen because of the lack of prescription. The higher court, therefore, allowed the execution to go forward.
“My life was robbed the day she got taken, and my heart was ripped out, and it can never be put back,” West said. “I’m her voice, so I have to stand here and fight for her because there’s no one else that can do it.”
The execution is set to take place tonight, Aug. 28, at 6 p.m.