Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish Leaders Express Opposition to Death Penalty as Federal Government Resumes Executions After 17 Years

Faith leaders opposed to the death penalty have condemned the federal government’s decision to begin carrying out executions this week after a 17-year hiatus.

On Thursday, authorities put to death inmate Wesley Ira Purkey, 68, who was sentenced to death in 2003 for the rape and murder of 16-year-old Jennifer Long in Missouri. Authorities said after Purkey killed Long, he dismembered and burned her body. He then dumped her remains in a septic pond.