Before Trump became president, only three people had been executed by the federal government since 1963. Representational image.(HT File Photo)
Before Trump became president, only three people had been executed by the federal government since 1963. Representational image.(HT File Photo)

US carries out 13th and final execution under Donald Trump administration

Dustin Higgs, 48, was pronounced dead at 1:23 a.m. EST (0623 GMT), the federal Bureau of Prisons said in a statement, after a late-night Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for the execution to proceed.
Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 02:48 PM IST

The US government carried out the 13th and final federal execution under President Donald Trump's administration early on Saturday, days before his successor Joe Biden takes office with a promise to try to end the death penalty.

Dustin Higgs, 48, was pronounced dead at 1:23 a.m. EST (0623 GMT), the federal Bureau of Prisons said in a statement, after a late-night Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for the execution to proceed.

Since resuming federal executions last year after a 17-year hiatus, Trump, a long-time proponent of capital punishment, has overseen more executions than any US president since the 19th century, including three this week.

Higgs was convicted and sentenced to death in 2001 for his role in the kidnapping and murder of three women on a federal wildlife reserve in Maryland in 1996: Tanji Jackson, Tamika Black and Mishann Chinn.

His accomplice, Willis Haynes, who confessed to shooting the women, was sentenced to life in prison in a separate trial.

In his final words, Higgs sounded calm and defiant at the Justice Department's death chamber in its prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, a reporter who served as a media witness said.

"I'd like to say I am an innocent man," he said before lethal injections were administered, mentioning the three women by name. "I did not order the murders."

Some of his victims' relatives attended, and a sister of Jackson released a statement, although the Bureau of Prisons did not share the sister's name.

"When the day is over, your death will not bring my sister and the other victims back," the statement said. "This is not closure, this is the consequence of your actions."

Higgs' older sister, Alexa Cave, could be heard sobbing uncontrollably from a separate witness room as Higgs died.

"THIS IS NOT JUSTICE"

"The government completed its unprecedented slaughter of 13 human beings tonight by killing Dustin Higgs, a Black man who never killed anyone, on Martin Luther King's birthday," Shawn Nolan, one of Higgs' lawyers, said in a statement.

"Dustin spent decades on death row in solitary confinement helping others around him, while working tirelessly to fight his unjust convictions."

The majority conservative Supreme Court's ruling was consistent with earlier decisions: it had dismissed all orders by lower courts delaying federal executions since they were resumed last year.

"This is not justice," one of its members, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, wrote in dissent.

"After waiting almost two decades to resume federal executions, the Government should have proceeded with some measure of restraint to ensure it did so lawfully. When it did not, this Court should have. It has not."

The federal government executed 10 people last year, more than three times as many as in the previous six decades, marking the first time that it had conducted more executions than all US states combined, according to a database compiled by the Death Penalty Information Center.

A minority of the country's 50 states still carry out executions.

Before Trump became president, only three people had been executed by the federal government since 1963.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called the execution of Higgs the end of a "cruel, inhumane and lawless" spree by the federal government.

"President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to end the federal death penalty. He must honor that commitment," Cassandra Stubbs, director of ACLU's Capital Punishment Project said.

After a failed triple date with the three women, Higgs and Haynes offered to drive them home but instead took them to the Patuxent Research Refuge. Prosecutors said Higgs gave Haynes a gun and told him to shoot the three women.

The disparity in their sentences was grounds for clemency, Higgs's lawyers had said.

Higgs and another death row inmate, Corey Johnson, were diagnosed with Covid-19 in December, but on Wednesday the Supreme Court rejected an order by a federal judge in Washington delaying their executions for several weeks to allow their lungs to heal.

The Justice Department executed Johnson on Thursday night.

Cave, Higgs' sister, said she believed life in prison would have been a more just punishment.

"They don't have freedom at all in any sense of the word," she said in an interview on Friday, before Higgs was executed. "What purpose does it serve to kill you? It brings nothing back."

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
The army claimed it has cleared the mountainous region of terrorists following several operations to eliminate the TTP. In this file picture, a Pakistan's army soldier stands guard on the Line of Control (LoC) at Abdullah Pur village in Bhimber district. (AFP)
The army claimed it has cleared the mountainous region of terrorists following several operations to eliminate the TTP. In this file picture, a Pakistan's army soldier stands guard on the Line of Control (LoC) at Abdullah Pur village in Bhimber district. (AFP)

Taliban commander killed in security force operation in Pak's Waziristan: Report

ANI, Islamabad
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:41 AM IST
  • Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan's (TTP) Nooristan alias Hasan Baba, a "high-value target", was killed in an exchange of fire during an operation at a terrorist hideout on Sharwangi, Tiarza in South Waziristan.
Close
Ecuador's Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos addresses the media before healthcare workers administer doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine on their colleagues, in Guayaquil, Ecuador January 21, 2021. Picture taken January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Santiago Arcos(REUTERS)
Ecuador's Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos addresses the media before healthcare workers administer doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine on their colleagues, in Guayaquil, Ecuador January 21, 2021. Picture taken January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Santiago Arcos(REUTERS)

Latin America’s Covid vaccine scandal claims third health minister

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:20 AM IST
President Lenin Moreno, whose term ends May 24, posted the minister’s resignation letter on Twitter. Zevallos’ departure was quickened after he sent letters to university presidents inviting them to skip the line and after prosecutors launched an investigation into his mother’s vaccination in January.
Close
Health workers wait for a discharged Covid-19 patient before his departure from the Luziania field hospital, a suburb of Brasilia, Brazil, (AP)
Health workers wait for a discharged Covid-19 patient before his departure from the Luziania field hospital, a suburb of Brasilia, Brazil, (AP)

Brasilia goes into lockdown as Brazil reels from Covid-19 surge

Reuters, Brasilia
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:11 AM IST
The drastic step came as right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly downplayed the gravity of the pandemic that has killed 250,000 Brazilians, renewed his attacks on state governors for destroying jobs with lockdowns.
Close
“In all of these meetings I spoke with my counterparts in Mexico and Canada about the pandemic,” Blinken said.(AFP)
“In all of these meetings I spoke with my counterparts in Mexico and Canada about the pandemic,” Blinken said.(AFP)

Blinken pledges cooperation in ‘virtual trips’ to Mexico, Canada

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:11 AM IST
The Friday trip -- really just a series of video calls with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts, as well as U.S. embassy staff -- saw Secretary of State Antony Blinken address issues like combating the coronavirus pandemic, promoting democratic values and discussing climate change.
Close
Parents of kidnapped students of Government Girls Junior Secondary School wait for information about family members following an attack by gunmen in Jangebe, Nigeria.(AP)
Parents of kidnapped students of Government Girls Junior Secondary School wait for information about family members following an attack by gunmen in Jangebe, Nigeria.(AP)

UN calls for immediate release of 317 girls abducted from school in Nigeria

ANI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 05:58 AM IST
Peter Hawkins, a representative of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in the country, urged the assailants to let the teenagers go immediately, Xinhua reported.
Close
Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are seen parked in an aerial photo at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, US in this file photo from 2019. (REUTERS)
Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are seen parked in an aerial photo at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, US in this file photo from 2019. (REUTERS)

Boeing CEO asked to testify in Ethiopian 737 MAX crash litigation

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 05:41 AM IST
A Senate report in December detailed lapses in aviation safety oversight and failed leadership in the FAA. It found that FAA leaders obstructed that report as well as a DOT watchdog review of the regulator's oversight, the results of which were released on Wednesday.
Close
"You can't act with impunity. Be careful," Biden told reporters while traveling to survey the damage from a severe winter storm in Texas.(Reuters file photo)
"You can't act with impunity. Be careful," Biden told reporters while traveling to survey the damage from a severe winter storm in Texas.(Reuters file photo)

Iran 'can't act with impunity,' Biden says after US air strike

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | Reuters
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 04:12 AM IST
The United States carried out air strikes authorized by Biden against facilities belonging to Iranian-backed militia in eastern Syria on Thursday, in response to rocket attacks against US targets in Iraq.
Close
Asked about the trajectory of the relationship between the US and Pakistan under President Joe Biden, Price said Pakistan has an “important role to play” in bringing peace to Afghanistan.(HT_PRINT)
Asked about the trajectory of the relationship between the US and Pakistan under President Joe Biden, Price said Pakistan has an “important role to play” in bringing peace to Afghanistan.(HT_PRINT)

United States welcomes Indo-Pak ceasefire pact

By Yashwant Raj, Washington
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 02:46 AM IST
The United States welcomed the India-Pakistan joint statement – released on Thursday — committing to a ceasefire along the LoC with Ned Price, spokesperson of the state department, saying: “We encourage continued efforts to improve communication between the two sides and to reduce tensions and violence along the Line of Control.”
Close
Saudi officials have said Khashoggi’s killing was the work of rogue Saudi security and intelligence officials.(AFP Photo)
Saudi officials have said Khashoggi’s killing was the work of rogue Saudi security and intelligence officials.(AFP Photo)

US implicates Saudi crown prince in journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | AP
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 12:11 AM IST
The central conclusion of the report was widely expected given that intelligence officials were said to have reached it soon after the brutal Oct. 2, 2018, murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s authoritarian consolidation of power.
Close
The Feb. 1 military takeover in Myanmar shocked the international community and reversed years of slow progress toward democracy.(REUTERS)
The Feb. 1 military takeover in Myanmar shocked the international community and reversed years of slow progress toward democracy.(REUTERS)

Myanmar's UN envoy dramatically opposes coup in his country

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | AP
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 11:48 PM IST
Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun urged all countries to issue public statements strongly condemning the military coup and refuse to recognize the military regime and ask its leaders to respect the free and fair elections in November won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party.
Close
REGN-COV2 is a combination of casirivimab and imdevimab, two monoclonal antibodies which is given to a patient via a drip, the EMA said.(via AP)
REGN-COV2 is a combination of casirivimab and imdevimab, two monoclonal antibodies which is given to a patient via a drip, the EMA said.(via AP)

EU medicines regulator approves Regeneron Covid-19 therapy

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | AFP
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 11:38 PM IST
Regeneron's synthetic antibody treatment was used to treat former US President Donald Trump after he contracted coronavirus last year.
Close
In a 44,000-person trial, the vaccine overall was 66% effective at preventing moderate-to-severe cases of Covid-19 compared with a placebo.(AP)
In a 44,000-person trial, the vaccine overall was 66% effective at preventing moderate-to-severe cases of Covid-19 compared with a placebo.(AP)

FDA advisory panel to review J&J Covid-19 vaccine with thumbs up expected

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 11:09 PM IST
After it receives the recommendation, the FDA is likely to authorize the vaccine for emergency use within a day or so, making it the third available in the United States, and the only one that requires just one shot.
Close
Bank of America said in December it would extend pandemic benefits for employees who need child- or adult-care services.(REUTERS)
Bank of America said in December it would extend pandemic benefits for employees who need child- or adult-care services.(REUTERS)

Bank of America gives paid time off for US staff to get Covid-19 vaccines

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 10:50 PM IST
Staff at Bank of America will have the option to use two half days, for up to four hours each, for vaccination appointments this year.
Close
The administration also will encourage businesses to advocate for the benefits of masks and vaccines. (Representative Image)(Samir Jana/HT File)
The administration also will encourage businesses to advocate for the benefits of masks and vaccines. (Representative Image)(Samir Jana/HT File)

Biden administration to promote vaccination with businesses

Bloomberg
UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2021 10:46 PM IST
The White House will partner with the US Chamber of Commerce; leaders of the Black, Latino and Asian business community; the Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers on the efforts, White House adviser Andy Slavitt announced in a briefing.
Close
The conversation between the two strategic partners will be overshadowed by the expected release of US intelligence findings.(AP)
The conversation between the two strategic partners will be overshadowed by the expected release of US intelligence findings.(AP)

Biden team looking to stop Saudi arms deals that help it attack others

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | Reuters, Washington
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 10:45 PM IST
The Biden administration is recalibrating its relationship with Saudi Arabia, a country with which it has severe human rights concerns.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP