When it comes to brutally violent crimes, few can compare to that for which Keith Dwayne Nelson was sentenced to death.
According to a recent Department of Justice report, Nelson was executed on Friday for the premeditated murder of 10-year-old Pamela Butler more than two decades ago.
The nation was horrified in the wake of Butler’s brutal death in October 1999 and remained gripped in the investigation that followed.
While rollerblading near her home in Kansas City, Kansas, the young victim was reportedly kidnapped in front of her sisters. Nelson pulled up his truck and abducted Butler before speeding off.
After throwing the girl in his vehicle, court records show he raped her and strangled her to death with a wire. After killing her, he buried the body behind a church across the state line in Kansas City, Missouri.
Two days later, authorities arrested Nelson on suspicion of committing the violent crime. In 2001, he pleaded guilty to charges of kidnapping and unlawful interstate transportation of a child for the purpose of sexual abuse resulting in death.
After his appeals were denied, Nelson’s death sentence was upheld and he was reportedly executed without issuing any statement of remorse. When asked if he had any last words, he sat silently and did not move.
“We need justice for her”
Nine minutes after the process of lethal injection began, Nelson was pronounced dead.
“More than two decades after viciously taking the life of Pamela Butler, causing untold devastation to those who loved her, Nelson finally faced the justice he deserved,” wrote Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec. “Family members of Pamela Butler, including her mother, attended the execution and witnessed implementation of the sentence for Nelson’s horrific crime.”
As for the victim’s family, their tragedy was compounded in 2017 when her older sister was killed in a domestic violence crime. A family friend provided a statement ahead of the execution explaining that it would represent some level of justice for her loved ones.
“Finally, it’s taken long enough,” the source said. “It’s been a very long 21 years for her family. We need justice for her, and it’s so close.”
Nelson became not only the fifth federal inmate executed this year, but the second within a week, highlighting the Trump administration’s commitment to remain tough on crime.