The last federal inmate scheduled to be executed under the Trump administration was slated to die Friday, numerous sources reported.
Dustin Higgs, 48, will be the thirteenth inmate to be executed since July, when the U.S. resumed executions for the first time in 17 years. He will also be the last inmate to be executed under the Trump administration, after two other death row inmates were executed earlier in the week, the Associated Press reported.
Good evening from the FCC Terre Haute Training Center. I’m here for the 13th time since last summer. Tonight the Trump DOJ plans to execute Dustin Higgs. It’s the third scheduled killing this week & the last of the federal execution spree. pic.twitter.com/2YuXeSN4y0
— Liliana Segura (@LilianaSegura) January 15, 2021
Higgs was convicted of kidnapping and murdering three women — Tamika Black, 19; Tanji Jackson, 21; and Mishann Chinn, 23 — in 1996. Higgs and two friends drove to Washington, D.C. to pick up the three women, whom he invited to his apartment in Maryland, according to the Justice Department. Later, Higgs offered the women a ride back to D.C. but instead drove them to a secluded area, where he gave a gun to one of his friends and told them to “make sure they’re dead.”
The other man shot and killed all three women, and Higgs was found guilty on charges including first-degree premeditated murder.
Earlier in the week, a federal judge ordered a stay of execution for Higgs and another inmate, Corey Johnson, after the two men argued that the lung damage caused by recent COVID-19 infections would cause the lethal injection to give them a “sensation of drowning akin to waterboarding,” thus making the method of death cruel and unusual if they have not recovered, a court statement said.
However, higher courts overruled the temporary stays, authorizing the executions. Johnson was executed Thursday night. Lisa Montgomery, who became the first woman to be executed in nearly 70 years, was executed Wednesday morning after a judge temporarily halted her execution, citing the need for a mental competence examination. (RELATED: First Woman Executed In US In Nearly 70 Years After Temporary Halt)
The last federal inmate facing execution before President Donald Trump leaves office was sentenced to death for the killings of three women in a Maryland wildlife refuge https://t.co/NkMUR8v3AS
— NBC 6 South Florida (@nbc6) January 16, 2021
Higgs says that nobody alleges he pulled the trigger, and his lawyers have argued it’s “arbitrary and inequitable” to execute Higgs when the man who shot and killed the three women was not given a death sentence, the AP reported.
His attorneys have also argued that Higgs’ “difficulty upbringing” was not “meaningfully” presented to the jury.