Freshman Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) is receiving backlash from her supporters after urging them to “say the names” of 13 inmates executed during President Donald Trump’s four years in office, including a white supremacist convicted of murdering an Arkansas family in 1996.
“The 13 people murdered by Trump’s death row killing spree … Say their names,” she tweeted on Saturday.
The 13 people murdered by Trump's death row killing spree:
William LeCroy Jr.
Say their names.
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) January 17, 2021
Many civil rights activists have said, “say their names” to raise awareness for people of color who have died at the hands of the police.
Many of Bush’s critics raised questions about her use of the word “murder” and thought she should be expressing sympathy for the criminals’ victims instead.
“These people weren’t murdered. They were legally executed after convictions for horrendous crimes, being sentenced to the death penalty, and going through countless appeals,” one Twitter user wrote.
You can oppose the death penalty as a punishment without pretending that the people executed were victims or that carrying out those executions is comparable to murder.
— AG (@AGHamilton29) January 17, 2021
“You can oppose the death penalty as a punishment without pretending that the people executed were victims or that carrying out those executions is comparable to murder,” the user added.
Bush’s supporters, on the other hand, praised her for being consistent on her anti-death penalty stance.
Wait, she’s against the death penalty — regardless of the prisoner’s politics or crimes? Just as some sort of principled stand? Outrageous.
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) January 18, 2021
“Wait, she’s against the death penalty — regardless of the prisoner’s politics or crimes? Just as some sort of principled stand? Outrageous,” another user apparently sarcastically tweeted.
Many users particularly pointed out the horrific nature of Daniel Lee’s crimes as a self-proclaimed white supremacist. Lee died in July 2020 in what was the first federal execution in 17 years.
Lee was convicted of three counts of murder in connection with the slayings of local gun dealer William Frederick Mueller, his wife, Nancy Ann Mueller, and Sarah Elizabeth Powell, his eight-year-old stepdaughter, in Arkansas in 1996.
The family had been shot to death, and their bodies were discovered in an Illinois bayou five months after they went missing.
As far as the other convicted murderers go, their death sentences were carried out not too long after Lee’s.
Wesley Purkey, who received his death sentence in 2004 for the interstate kidnapping and eventual murder of 16-year-old Jennifer Long in 1998, was executed the same month as Lee.
Dustin Honken was also executed in the same month as Purkey and Lee, making him the third federal inmate to be executed under Trump.
Honken was a former methamphetamine dealer who was found guilty of murder and conspiracy charges for killing two informants, the girlfriend of an informant, and her two young daughters.
Lezmond Mitchell, the only Native American and member of the Navajo Nation on death row, was executed the following month in August. He was convicted of murdering nine-year-old Tiffany Lee and her 63-year-old grandmother, Alyce Slim, in 2001 in Arizona.
Keith Nelson was also executed in late August for raping and killing a ten-year-old girl.
William Lecroy Jr. was the sixth inmate to be executed in the span of three months in September. He was convicted of robbing, raping, and murdering 30-year-old Joann Lee Tiesler in Georgia in 2001.
Christopher Vialva was the seventh inmate to be executed during the Trump administration and was executed in late September. He was convicted of murdering two youth ministers at the age of 19.
Orlando Hall, who was convicted of raping and kidnapping a Texas girl before burying her alive, was the eighth inmate to be executed under Trump in November.
Brandon Bernard, who spent more than half of his life on death row, was the ninth man executed by the federal government under Trump’s administration in December. He was convicted for his part in a 1999 double-murder robbery when he was 18 years old.
In that same month, former truck driver Alfred Bourgeois was executed for severely abusing his two-year-old daughter and killing her by slamming her head into a truck’s windows and dashboard.
Corey Johnson was executed in mid-January after being convicted of carrying out seven murders in 1992.
Dustin Higgs, the 13th and final inmate to be executed under Trump’s administration, was executed early Saturday after he was convicted of murdering three people in 1996.