The Trump administration executed Corey Johnson on Thursday night, the 12th federal inmate to be put to death by the administration which reinstated federal executions after a 17-year hiatus. Johnson had been convicted of killing seven people as part of a cocaine trafficking operation.
His execution was carried out despite fierce legal opposition who argued that Johnson’s intellectual disabilities score meant he was legally protected from the death penalty. Johnson’s advocates found fleeting victory when a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia suspended Johnson’s execution until at least March. That order was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and the conservative majority of the Supreme Court ultimately sided with the government in denying Johnson’s request for a reprieve.
“No court ever held a hearing to consider the overwhelming evidence of Mr. Johnson’s intellectual disability,” said the lawyers, Donald P. Salzman and Ronald J. Tabak in a statement. “And the clemency process failed to play its historic role as a safeguard against violations of due process and the rule of law.”
Johnson’s last statement was brief and contrite. Here it is in its entirety.
I want to say that I am sorry for my crimes. I wanted to say that to the families who were victimized by my actions, and I want these names to be remembered.
I would have said I was sorry before, but I didn’t know how. I hope you will find peace.
To my family, I have always loved you, and your love has made me real. On the streets, I was looking for shortcuts, I had some good role models, I was side tracking, I was blind and stupid.
I am not the same man that I was.
To the staff in the SCU. Thank you, you have been kind.
The pizza and strawberry shake were wonderful, but I didn’t get the jelly donut that I ordered. What’s with that? This should be fixed.
Thanks to the chaplain, who has been kind.
Thanks to my legal team. Don has been more than a lawyer, he has become a friend.
I am thankful to my minister. I am OK. I am at peace.
Today (Friday), the Trump Administration plans to execute its 13th inmate Dustin J. Higgs for the murder of three women.