WASHINGTON: U.S. officials on Saturday unveiled the 13th and final federal implementation of Donald Trump’s presidency, a week after Democrat Joe Biden took office at the White House, according to media reports. Less than
Hours after the US Supreme Court overturned the death sentence, a 48-year-old black man was hanged with a lethal injection on Dustin Higgs, a federal prisoner in the Terhaut area of Indiana. Citing a statement from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, The Times said Haggs was pronounced dead at 1:23 a.m. local time.
In January 1996, Haggs, along with two of his friends, invited three young women to his apartment near the capital, Washington. When one of the young women reprimanded him for his initiative, he offered to send her home, but instead stopped at an isolated federal natural reserve outside the city.
He then ordered a friend to shoot the three women, according to the Justice Department. In 2000, he was sentenced to death for kidnapping and murder. The man who pulled the trigger was sentenced to life in prison for failing to get parole.
In a request to address President Trump in late January, Higgs’ lawyer, Sean Nolan, said it was “irrational and unfair” to punish Mr. Higgs more severely than the real killer. But the Republican president, a staunch defender of the death penalty, did not follow suit. On the contrary, his administration has argued in court that it will be able to proceed with the execution before leaving the White House next week.
A court had ordered the execution on the grounds that Higgs had contracted Covid-19 and, with damage to his lungs, would likely be brutally injected with pentobarbital. The Justice Department immediately appealed and won the case.
The final bid to stop the executions then went to the Supreme Court, whose conservative majority – firmly established by Trump’s appointments – has regularly given the green light to federal executions since the summer.
The Trump administration began implementing the federal death penalty in July after a 17-year hiatus, executing it at an extraordinary rate. Twelve people have been executed since then. For the first time in nearly 70 years, Lisa Montgomery was hanged by a woman on Tuesday despite doubts about her mental health. Meanwhile, states have suspended all executions to prevent the spread of the virus.