TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — A federal inmate and former drug trafficker who was convicted of capital murder in the 1992 slayings of seven people in Virginia has been executed, authorities said.
According to The Associated Press, Corey Johnson, 52, was put to death by lethal injection late Thursday in Terre Haute, Indiana. He died at 11:34 p.m., officials said.
In a clemency bid, Johnson’s attorneys argued that their client was intellectually disabled and recovering from a recent bout with COVID-19, the AP reported. The lawyers claimed that because of the lung damage caused by the coronavirus, Johnson would experience intense pain after receiving a lethal injection, according to the news outlet. The Supreme Court denied the appeal, CNN reported.
Johnson said in his final statement: “I want to say that I am sorry for my crimes. I wanted to say that to the families who were victimized for my actions, and I want these names to be remembered: Louis Johnson, Anthony Carter, Dorothy Armstrong, Curtis Thorne, Linwood Chiles, Peyton Johnson, Bobby Long.”
He added that he would have apologized sooner but “didn’t know how.”
“I hope you will find peace,” he added.
Johnson’s lawyers, Donald P. Salzman and Ronald J. Tabak, released the following statement after Johnson’s death:
“Tonight, the government executed Corey Johnson, a person with intellectual disability, in stark violation of the Constitution and federal law,” the statement read. “The government’s arbitrary rush to execute Mr. Johnson, who was categorically ineligible for execution due to his significant impairments, rested on procedural technicalities rather than any serious dispute that he was intellectually disabled. No court ever held a hearing to consider the overwhelming evidence of Mr. Johnson’s intellectual disability. And the clemency process failed to play its historic role as a safeguard against violations of due process and the rule of law.”
The execution of another federal inmate who contracted COVID-19, Dustin Higgs, is scheduled for Friday, the AP reported.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.
More coronavirus pandemic coverage: