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Buddhist priest sues to stop federal execution over coronavirus risk

Posted at 9:34 AM, Jul 03, 2020

TERRE HAUTE — A Zen Buddhist priest wants a federal judge to stop the execution of a death row inmate he's been counseling and argues he'd be put at high risk for the coronavirus if the execution happens this month.

Dale Hartkemeyer says he must attend the execution as a spiritual guide. He filed a lawsuit Thursday in Indiana. He wants a court to delay Wesley Ira Purkey's execution until a coronavirus vaccine is available or there's an effective treatment.

Purkey is among four federal death row inmates scheduled to be executed in July and August. The Kansas native was sentenced to death in the 1998 killing of a girl he picked up in Missouri