Dustin Higgs, an inmate on dying row in Indiana, has died within the ultimate federal execution of the Trump presidency simply days earlier than he leaves workplace. Higgs was convicted within the killings of three ladies in a wildlife refuge in 1996, however till his dying denied ordering their homicide. He died by deadly injection at 01:23 native time (06:23 GMT) on Saturday.
His execution is the 13th carried out since July when the US authorities ended a 17-year hiatus on federal executions. It comes simply days earlier than President-elect Joe Biden, who’s in opposition to the dying penalty, is sworn in.
There was criticism of the Trump administration’s rush to hold out the sentences – breaking with an 130-year-old precedent of pausing executions throughout a presidential transition. Higgs was convicted and sentenced to dying in 2001 for overseeing the 1996 kidnapping and homicide of three ladies: Tanji Jackson, Tamika Black and Mishann Chinn.
The ladies had been on a date with Higgs and two different males at an condominium earlier than one rebuffed his advances and an argument broke out between the group. Higgs and confederate Willis Haynes provided to drive them house however as a substitute took them to a wildlife refuge in Maryland, the place prosecutors mentioned Higgs gave Haynes a gun and advised him to shoot the three ladies.
Haynes, who confessed to being the shooter, was sentenced to life in jail in a separate trial. “It’s arbitrary and inequitable to punish Mr Higgs extra severely than the precise killer,” a lawyer had appealed in a plea for clemency addressed to President Trump.
A courtroom had ordered a keep of execution for Higgs and one other inmate, Corey Johnson, on Tuesday after they contracted Covid-19 on dying row – with attorneys arguing injury to their lung tissue would trigger painful struggling throughout their executions.
However the Division of Justice instantly appealed and gained the case. Johnson was put to dying on Thursday. A ultimate bid to halt Higgs’s execution then failed on Friday when the US Supreme Court docket‘s conservative majority voted 6-Three to clear the best way the sentence to be carried out.
“This isn’t justice,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissent. “After ready virtually 20 years to renew federal executions, the Authorities ought to have proceeded with some measure of restraint to make sure it did so lawfully. When it didn’t, this Court docket ought to have. It has not.”
She additionally listed the names of all 13 executed since July: “To place that in historic context, the Federal Authorities can have executed greater than 3 times as many individuals within the final six months that it had within the earlier six many years.” In his ultimate phrases, Higgs repeated his declare to innocence.
“I might prefer to say I’m an harmless man,” he mentioned, mentioning the three ladies by identify. “I didn’t order the murders.” Higgs was the third to die at a federal jail in Terre Haute, Indiana this week together with Lisa Montgomery, the one lady on federal dying row on Wednesday.
“The federal government accomplished its unprecedented slaughter of 13 human beings tonight by killing Dustin Higgs, a Black man who by no means killed anybody, on Martin Luther King’s birthday,” Shawn Nolan, certainly one of Higgs’s attorneys, mentioned in an announcement.
“Dustin spent many years on dying row in solitary confinement serving to others round him, whereas working tirelessly to battle his unjust convictions.”