“Squad” member Ayanna Pressley is calling the newly reinstated death penalty “racist” and “vile,” claiming it has no place in a “just society.”
The freshman lawmaker will introduce a new bill to abolish the death penalty.
The death penalty has no place in a just society. https://t.co/LiQGwumtGV
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) July 25, 2019
The Justice Department identified the five inmates scheduled for execution.
They consist of murderers and child rapists who committed unspeakable evils.
Daniel Lewis Lee, a member of a white supremacist group, murdered a family of three, including an eight-year-old girl. After robbing and shooting the victims with a stun gun, Lee covered their heads with plastic bags, sealed the bags with duct tape, weighed down each victim with rocks, and threw the family of three into the Illinois bayou. On May 4, 1999, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas found Lee guilty of numerous offenses, including three counts of murder in aid of racketeering, and he was sentenced to death. Lee’s execution is scheduled to occur on Dec. 9, 2019.
Lezmond Mitchell stabbed to death a 63-year-old grandmother and forced her nine-year-old granddaughter to sit beside her lifeless body for a 30 to 40-mile drive. Mitchell then slit the girl’s throat twice, crushed her head with 20-pound rocks, and severed and buried both victims’ heads and hands. On May 8, 2003, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona found Mitchell guilty of numerous offenses, including first degree murder, felony murder, and carjacking resulting in murder, and he was sentenced to death. Mitchell’s execution is scheduled to occur on Dec. 11, 2019.
Wesley Ira Purkey violently raped and murdered a 16-year-old girl, and then dismembered, burned, and dumped the young girl’s body in a septic pond. He also was convicted in state court for using a claw hammer to bludgeon to death an 80-year-old woman who suffered from polio and walked with a cane. On Nov. 5, 2003, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri found Purkey guilty of kidnapping a child resulting in the child’s death, and he was sentenced to death. Purkey’s execution is scheduled to occur on Dec. 13, 2019.
Alfred Bourgeois physically and emotionally tortured, sexually molested, and then beat to death his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. On March 16, 2004, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas found Bourgeois guilty of multiple offenses, including murder, and he was sentenced to death. Bourgeois’ execution is scheduled to occur on Jan. 13, 2020.
Dustin Lee Honken shot and killed five people—two men who planned to testify against him and a single, working mother and her ten-year-old and six-year-old daughters. On Oct. 14, 2004, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa found Honken guilty of numerous offenses, including five counts of murder during the course of a continuing criminal enterprise, and he was sentenced to death. Honken’s execution is scheduled to occur on Jan. 15, 2020.
Per HuffPost, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) said she will introduce a bill abolishing the federal death penalty after Attorney General William Barr directed the Department of Justice to resume capital punishment for crimes prosecuted in U.S. courts for the first time in nearly two decades.
Pressley’s legislation would prohibit the use of capital punishment for violations of federal law and require that any person already sentenced to die for a federal crime be resentenced.
Pressley referred to the death penalty as a “racist, vile policy,” and pointed to President Donald Trump’s own calls for the execution of the Central Park Five — five teenagers of color who were wrongfully imprisoned ― and later exonerated ― in the 1989 rape of a white woman in New York.
“The same racist rhetoric coming from the occupant of the White House ― who called for the execution of the Exonerated 5, is what led to this racist, vile policy,” Pressley said in a statement. “It was wrong then and it’s wrong now … The cruelty is the point ― this is by design.”