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Execution halted for 10-year-old Pamela Butler's convicted killer

Pamela Butler grave
Posted at 5:56 PM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-27 19:46:50-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — It's been more than 20 years since 10-year-old Pamela Butler was kidnapped while rollerblading outside her home in Kansas City, Kansas.

A man, later identified as Keith Nelson, kidnapped, raped and killed Pamela. Nelson later pleaded guilty and has been sitting on death row.

His execution date was set for Aug. 28, when U.S. Attorney General William Barr directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule executions for convicted child murderers.

However, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan halted Nelson's execution, saying Thursday that the law requires the government to get a prescription for the drug pentobarbital.

The federal government is appealing the opinion, saying the drug is not subject to the law when used for lethal injections.

As Pamela's family continues to wait for justice, community members are showing their respect to Pamela by visiting her grave throughout the week.

Cynde Williams and Stacy Mangels were two of many visitors to Pamela's grave at the Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Kansas City, Kansas.

"I just remember everything as it happened," Williams said. "Everybody wanted to try to help find Pamela, we didn't know which direction to go."

Williams and Mangels decorated Pamela's grave with purple balloons, flowers and trinkets, along with other items that had been left by previous visitors.

"It's been 21 years, her mother and her family have waited for justice," Mangels said. "I've given a lot of thought over the years to her and to her family, and if I can do this to honor her I'm happy to do so."

Mangels and Williams said they've gotten to know Pamela's mother over the years.

"She's a wonderful lady, one of the strongest I've ever met, and she's endured a great deal," Mangels said.

Both women say they'll continue to wait for justice alongside Pamela's family while making sure she is never forgotten.

"A lot of us vowed we would never forget this child and we haven't," Mangels said.