Nelson, 45, was pronounced dead at 4:32 p.m. in the Justice Department’s execution chamber in Terre Haute, Indiana, after receiving lethal injections of pentobarbital, a potent barbiturate, the department said. .
It was the second execution this week after Lezmond Mitchell, another convicted murderer, was killed on Wednesday.
The administration of President Donald Trump, a strong supporter of capital punishment for serious crimes, has now carried out more federal executions than in the previous 57 years.
Nelson was convicted of the rape and murder of 10-year-old Pamela Butler in Kansas in 1999.
A Bureau of Prisons official asked Nelson if he had a final word.
About 15 seconds passed without a response from Nelson before the official began the execution, according to a reporter selected by the department to witness the execution.
and share a report with news organizations.
Nelson took about nine minutes to die.
The mother of his victim, Cherri West, said her death brought her some peace.
“I didn’t expect him to say anything because he never had any remorse,” she said. “I have no remorse for him. ”
Pamela was abducted while rollerblading outside her home in Kansas. Nelson confessed to raping the 10-year-old girl before strangling her with a thread.
On Thursday, a federal judge dealing with court challenges to the execution protocol by Nelson and other death row inmates ruled that the Justice Department’s protocol violated drug safety laws.
Judge Tanya Chutkan ordered that Nelson’s execution be postponed until the Justice Department revises its protocol to comply with the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, including a requirement that a medication can only be obtained with a prescription from a clinician.
The Department of Justice challenged the injunction delaying enforcement in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The appeals court overturned the injunction Thursday evening, ruling that Chutkan had failed to establish that the violations of the act constituted “irreparable harm”.
Chutkan spoke with attorneys representing Nelson and the Justice Department on a conference call Friday as she considered a request by Nelson’s attorneys to revise or issue a new order blocking the execution of Friday.
Chutkan turned down the request less than 90 minutes before Nelson’s scheduled execution time, writing that he had failed to “convincingly” show an irreparable injury.
Nelson was one of more than a dozen death row inmates in the federal district of Terre Haute who sued the Justice Department over its lethal injection protocol, announced in 2019, replacing the old three-way protocol. drugs last used in 2003.
He is now the fourth of those plaintiffs to have since been executed by the Department of Justice after the United States Supreme Court swiftly rejected earlier injunctions issued by Chutkan delaying executions to allow litigation to continue.
Nelson’s attorneys Dale Baich and Jen Moreno said in a joint statement that the US enforcement system was flawed and the government was “blatantly breaking” drug laws.
“As this execution and recent ones demonstrate, the death penalty is not a matter of fairness and justice, it is arbitrary and political,” the statement said.