Death Row Inmate Suffered ‘Excruciating’ Death After Making Last Meal ‘Mistake’

Death row inmate Wesley Ira Purkey suffered an 'excruciating' death after making a 'mistake' in his last meal request.
Credit: Kansas Dept. of Corrections via The Federal Bureau of Prisons

A death row inmate suffered an ‘excruciating’ death after making a ‘mistake’ in his last meal request.

Wesley Ira Purkey, 68, was placed on death row in 2004 for kidnapping, r***ing, and murdering 16-year-old schoolgirl Jennifer Long in 1998.

He reportedly lured the young girl into his pickup truck outside of a supermarket after she was last seen skipping lessons on January 22.

Purkey proceeded to r*** Long before s****ing her to death.

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He then dis***bered her body with a chainsaw – which he apparently buried in a septic pond in Clearwater, Kansas.

Long’s remains are yet to be found.

Purkey also beat 80-year-old polio sufferer Mary Bales to death in October 1998 with a claw hammer after he had been to her house to fix a kitchen tap.

He was arrested after the victim’s neighbours became aware of what had happened.

Purkey pleaded guilty to Bales’ murder and was sentenced to life in prison. He then confessed to Long’s murder and was given the death penalty.

Wesley Ira Purkey
Wesley Ira Purkey suffered an ‘excruciating’ death after making a ‘mistake’ in his last meal request. Credit: Kansas Dept. of Corrections

Purkey was executed in 2020 after he was given a lethal injection of pentobarbital, as per the Death Penalty Information Center.

His autopsy revealed that he suffered ‘severe bilateral acute pulmonary oedema and ‘frothy pulmonary oedema in the trachea and main stem bronchi’.

This means that fluid entered his lungs and trachea quickly, leading to him feeling ‘a near-drowning’ sensation – which medical experts describe as one of the ‘most excruciating feelings known to man’, according to

Dr Gail Van Norman explains: “It is a virtual medical certainty, that most, if not all, prisoners will experience excruciating suffering, including sensations of drowning and suffocation from [the lethal injection drug] pentobarbital.”

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Purkey reportedly expressed remorse in his final words, saying (via Daily Star): “I deeply regret the pain and suffering I caused to Jennifer’s family. I am deeply sorry. I deeply regret the pain I caused to my daughter, who I love so very much.

“This sanitised murder really does not serve no purpose whatsoever.”

Long’s family were present at the execution, with her father William saying: “We took care of today, what we needed to take care of. It has been a long time coming.

“He needed to take his last breath – he took my daughter’s last breath. And there’s some resolve. There is no closure, and there never will be because I won’t get my daughter back.”

Pecan pie
Wesley Ira Purkey reportedly requested pecan pie for his final meal. Credit: Alamy

In his final days, it’s believed Purkey suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, as per AP News.

The night before his execution, the inmate reportedly saw Bill Clinton on TV and said that he would vote for him in the upcoming presidential election.

For his last meal, Purkey is believed to have asked for pecan pie.

He apparently asked to have it ‘later’ – unaware that there wouldn’t be a ‘later’.

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Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a content editor at IGV who specialises in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.