Parents of victim react after execution of Wesley Purkey

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("Jail cells at the Southborough Police Station" by my_southborough, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Wesley Purkey’s final words didn’t mean much to the parents of Jennifer Long, whom he raped and murdered in 1998, before dismembering her body with a chainsaw, burning her remains and throwing them in a sewage pond. Purkey was executed at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Thursday morning.

“I deeply regret the pain and suffering I caused to Jennifer’s family,” Purkey said when given a chance to say final words. “I am deeply sorry. I deeply regret the pain I caused to my daughter, who I love so very much. This sanitized murder really does serve no purpose whatsoever.”

“It didn’t mean much,” said Olivia Long, who traveled from Missouri to be at the execution. “He’s not very genuine. He’s a very manipulative individual. And, there was obviously nothing wrong with him mentally because he remembered Jennifer’s name to apologize to us.”

Purkey’s lawyers had argued against his execution, saying Alzheimer’s prevented him from understanding why he had been put to death.

Both parents said the process from his trial to his death, took too long.

“All these appeals, some of them he put through several times. And then we sat in a van for four hours this morning while he did a bunch more appeals, some of them he’d already done. We just shouldn’t have had to wait this long,” said Olivia Long.

Her husband William, remembering his daughter, who was 16 when she was murdered, said he believes the execution needed to happen.

“We took care of today what we needed to take care of. He needed to take his last breath. He took my daughter’s last breath,” he said. “She was missing for five years before we found out what was happening. Then 17 years he sat on death row.”

Long said he would always have the events surrounding his daughter’s death and the nearly 20-year ordeal that followed with him, saying no parent should have to live through that.

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