The Trump Administration executed inmate Corey Johnson on Thursday for murdering seven people in 1992, according to The New York Times. Johnson marked the 12th federal inmate put to death under President Donald Trump.
Johnson, 52, committed the murders in Richmond, Virginia, in an effort to advance a drug trafficking scheme. Johnson killed one victim after he failed to pay for crack cocaine and another after Johnson ordered him to place his head on a car steering wheel.
Johnson declined to give any last words, telling the executioner, “No, I’m OK,” according to The New York Times. After a few seconds passed, he whispered his final words at the room designated for his family members.
“Love you,” Johnson said.
Officials pronounced him dead at 11:34 p.m. Clapping emanated from the other witness room after the announcement, according to CBS News.
Johnson’s defense team released his final statement after the execution. He apologized and requested for the names of his victims to be remembered.
“I want to say that I am sorry for my crimes,” the statement read. “I wanted to say that to the families who were victimized by my actions … I would have said I was sorry before, but I didn’t know how. I hope you will find peace.”
This is Corey Johnson’s final statement, provided through his attorneys. pic.twitter.com/ENNCHPALVr
— Mike Balsamo (@MikeBalsamo1) January 15, 2021
Johnson also detailed his final meal which included pizza and a strawberry shake, saying they “were wonderful.” But he noted that he did not receive a jelly-filled doughnut.
“What’s with that,” asked Johnson. “This should be fixed.”
He expressed regret for his past actions while also thanking his family for their love.
“To my family, I have always loved you, and your love has made me real,” Johnson said. “On the streets, I was looking for shortcuts, I had some good role models, I was side tracking, I was blind and stupid.”
Johnson had tested positive for the coronavirus last month, prompting a federal judge to order a stay of execution. His lawyers argued that the infection would create lung damage that would cause the lethal injection to give Johnson a “sensation of drowning akin to waterboarding,” making the execution cruel and unusual. (RELATED: Black Man On Death Row For 26 Years Exonerated After Newly-Examined Evidence Shows No Connection)
That ruling was overturned by a panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a 2-1 decision. Judge Gregory G. Katsas of the Appeals Court, a Trump appointee, explained the arguments about health concerns were mostly “conjecture.”
Johnson’s lawyers claimed in a statement that the federal government executed someone “with an intellectual disability, in stark violation of the Constitution and federal law.” His lawyers said the government rejected these claims on the basis that Johnson’s IQ test score of 77 was too high, according to the New York Times.
Meanwhile, Dustin Higgs, another inmate who had tested positive for coronavirus, is scheduled to be executed Friday at Terre Haute, Indiana. Higgs will be the last execution before President-elect Joe Biden takes office next week. Biden has promised to end federal executions as part of his criminal justice platform. (RELATED: Herschel Walker: ‘I Totally Dispute That’ Joe Biden Made Criminal Justice System Fairer For Black Americans)
Higgs’ death will mark the 13th federal execution in more than six months and the third this week. Lisa Montgomery was executed on Wednesday.