Federal government executes convicted killer following prolonged legal fight

Corey Johnson was executed by lethal injection at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana and pronounced dead at 11:34 p.m. ET on Thursday. Johnson was sentenced to death after being convicted of the murder of seven people in the 1992 Virginia drug trafficking. The weeks leading up to his execution were marked by a tense legal battle after contracting COVID-19 on death row. In his final statement, Johnson apologized for his crimes and told the victims' families that he hoped they would find peace. He also thanked the prison staff, the prison chaplain, his minister and his legal team. "I would have said I was sorry first, but I didn't know how. I hope you will find peace," he said to a statement from his lawyers. "For my family, I have always loved you, and your love made me real. I looked for short cuts on the street, I had some good role models, I was side tracking, I was blind and stupid. It's not the same man like me. "The Supreme Court late Thursday denied a final effort by Johnson's legal team based on claims of intellectual disability and his diagnosis of COVID-19, arguing that his infection would be tied to a fatal injection cruel and unusual punishment. That appeal came after an appeals court on Wednesday overturned a lower court ruling to suspend the executions of Johnson and another death row inmate infected with the virus, Dustin Higgs, whose execution is due to take place on Friday. "The government must stop executing Corey Johnson while he is still recovering from the COVID-19 infection he contracted due to the government's own irresponsibility in conducting executions during the pandemic," said Donald Salzman, attorney Von Johnson had said in a statement earlier Thursday: "There is no fundamental reason not to wait for the March restraining order to expire to assess whether Mr. Johnson's lungs have healed sufficiently to keep him from excruciating during an execution In pain. " After Johnson's death his legal team issued a statement mourning his death, saying that he should never be executed. "We loved Corey Johnson, and we knew him as a gentle soul who never broke any rule in prison and kept trying to do so despite his limitations." Pass the GED. His family and loved ones are in our hearts, "said his lawyers." We would also like to say that the fact that Corey Johnson should never be executed does not reduce the pain and loss suffered by the families of the victims in this case. We wish them peace and healing. "Johnson's legal team has also said he has an IQ of 69, which is lower than a standard offered by the Supreme Court as a guide to states considering whether such an execution meets the gruesome and unusual constitution of punishment standards." is a person with intellectual disabilities who cannot be constitutionally executed, "Salzman argued Thursday morning." The government should withdraw Corey's execution date or President Trump should grant him mercy. "According to the Justice Department, Johnson and several co-conspirators were partners between 1989 and 1992 a "major drug trafficking conspiracy" in Richmond, Va. In their operation, Johnson murdered seven people for "perceived trivialities or rivalries in the drug trade" – Peyton Johnson, Louis Johnson, Bobby Long, Dorothy Armstrong, Anthony Carter, Linwood Chiles and Curtis Thorne Johnson said every name in his own Final statement, saying, "I want these names to be remembered. "Johnson was found guilty of seven deaths in 1993. The US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia Jury unanimously recommended seven death sentences. The execution on Thursday, six days before President-elect Joe Biden took office. This coincides with a new proposal gathered by more than three dozen members of Congress for Biden's new administration to prioritize the abolition of the death penalty in all jurisdictions, while Biden is committed to abolishing the federal death penalty and encouraging states not to pass death sentences as part of his Criminal justice plan wants 40 members of Congress to ensure the practice ends on his first day in office. As part of his final words, Johnson mentioned his last meal. "The pizza and strawberry shake were wonderful, but I got the jelly-filled donuts I ordered , don't get, "he said." What about it? That should be fixed. "

Corey Johnson was executed by lethal injection at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana and pronounced dead at 11:34 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Johnson was sentenced to death after being convicted of the murder of seven people in the 1992 Virginia drug trafficking. The weeks leading up to his execution were marked by a tense legal battle after contracting COVID-19 on death row.

In his final statement, Johnson apologized for his crimes and told the victims' families that he hoped they would find peace. He also thanked the prison staff, the prison chaplain, his minister and his legal team.

"I would have said I was sorry first, but I didn't know how. I hope you will find peace," he said, according to a statement released by his lawyers. "For my family, I have always loved you, and your love made me real. I looked for short cuts on the street, I had some good role models, I was side tracking, I was blind and stupid. It's not the same man like me. "

The Supreme Court, late Thursday, denied a final attempt by Johnson's legal team based on claims of intellectual disability and his diagnosis of COVID-19, arguing that his infection, combined with a lethal injection, would constitute a cruel and unusual punishment.

That appeal came after an appeals court on Wednesday overturned a lower court ruling to suspend the executions of Johnson and another death row inmate infected with the virus, Dustin Higgs, whose execution is due to take place on Friday.

"The government must stop executing Corey Johnson while he is still recovering from the COVID-19 infection he contracted due to the government's irresponsibility in conducting executions during the pandemic," said Donald Salzman, an attorney von Johnson said in a statement earlier Thursday.

"There is no fundamental reason not to wait for the restraining order to expire in March to assess whether Mr. Johnson's lungs have healed enough not to experience excruciating pain during an execution."

After Johnson's death, his legal team issued a statement in mourning for him, saying that he should never be executed.

"We loved Corey Johnson, and we knew him as a gentle soul who never broke a rule in prison and, despite his limitations, kept trying to pass the GED. His family and loved ones are in our hearts," said his lawyers. "We would also like to say that the fact that Corey Johnson should never be executed does not reduce the pain and loss suffered by the victims' families in this case. We wish them peace and healing."

Johnson's legal team has also said he has an IQ of 69, which is lower than a standard offered by the Supreme Court as a guide for states considering whether such an execution meets the cruel and unusual punishment standards of the constitution.

"He is a person with an intellectual disability who cannot be constitutionally executed," argued Salzman on Thursday morning. "The government should withdraw Corey's execution date or President Trump should grant him mercy."

According to the Justice Department, Johnson and several co-conspirators were partners in a "major drug trafficking conspiracy" in Richmond, Virginia between 1989 and 1992.

As part of her operation, Johnson murdered seven people for "perceived trivialities or rivalries in the drug trade" – Peyton Johnson, Louis Johnson, Bobby Long, Dorothy Armstrong, Anthony Carter, Linwood Chiles and Curtis Thorne. Johnson said each name in his closing statement, saying, "I want these names to be remembered."

Johnson was found guilty of seven deaths in 1993. The US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia Jury unanimously recommended seven death sentences.

The execution on Thursday, six days before President-elect Joe Biden took office, coincides with a new push by more than three dozen members of Congress for Biden's new administration to give priority to abolition of the death penalty in all jurisdictions.

While Biden has pledged to abolish the federal death penalty and incentivize states to stop sentencing death under his criminal law plan, 40 members of Congress want to ensure the practice ends on his first day in office.

As part of his final words, Johnson mentioned his last meal.

"The pizza and strawberry shake were wonderful, but I didn't get the jelly-filled donuts I ordered," he said. "What about it? That should be fixed."

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