A federal jury agrees with prosecutors that what 51-year-old Wesley Purkey did to a 16-year-old Kansas City girl is worthy of death. The jury that convicted Purkey of kidnapping, raping and killing Jennifer Long now recommends he be executed. The trial covered gruesome territory after prosecutors wove a tale about a man convicted of murder in Kansas hoping another crime he committed would keep him out of the state prison system and land him in the federal one, which he considered better. Purkey was serving life in prison in Kansas when he confessed to taking Long from Kansas City, Missouri to Lansing, Kansas where he raped her on January 22, 1998. Crossing the state line made the crime a federal offense. Purkey stabbed her to death, hid her body in a tool box, eventually dismembered it with a chainsaw and burned the remains in a fireplace. Purkey’s attorney claimed mental deficiency. The jury deliberated for ten hours over two days before returning the death penalty verdict. US District Judge Fernando Gaitan, Jr. will formally sentence Purkey on January 23, 2004.
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