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Second federal prisoner scheduled to die in weeks has Covid, legal professionals say

A second federal prisoner scheduled to be put to dying subsequent month, because the Trump administration rushes to execute extra individuals earlier than Joe Biden takes energy, has examined optimistic for Covid-19, his legal professionals mentioned on Friday.

Cory Johnson’s prognosis got here a day after attorneys for Dustin John Higgs confirmed he had examined optimistic at a US jail in Terre Haute, Indiana, the place each males are on dying row.

Johnson, Higgs and a 3rd inmate, Lisa Montgomery, are scheduled to be put to dying by deadly injection on the federal complicated simply days earlier than Biden takes workplace.

The Trump administration resumed federal executions after a 17-year pause in July and has carried out 10 dying sentences since then, together with two final week. It has executed extra individuals in a single 12 months than some other administration in additional than 130 years and this 12 months has killed extra inmates than all of the states put collectively.

Johnson’s legal professionals, Donald Salzman and Ronald Tabak, referred to as on federal authorities to strike their shopper’s present execution date of 14 January – six days earlier than inauguration day. Higgs is scheduled to die a day later.

Montgomery’s execution date is 12 January, however as a result of she is the one girl on federal dying row she is held at a separate jail in Texas and would should be dropped at Indiana to be executed. She can be the primary girl killed by the US authorities in 67 years.

Johnson’s attorneys mentioned his an infection would make it tough to work together with him within the crucial days main as much as his scheduled execution, including: “The widespread outbreak on the federal dying row solely confirms the reckless disregard for the lives and security of employees, prisoners, and attorneys alike.”

“If the federal government is not going to withdraw the execution date, we are going to ask the courts to intervene,” they mentioned.

The US Division of Justice and Bureau of Prisons didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Prosecutors alleged Johnson was a crack cocaine vendor who killed seven individuals in 1992 in an try and broaden the territory of a Richmond, Virginia, gang and silence informants. His authorized group has argued that he’s intellectually disabled, with a far under common IQ, and due to this fact ineligible for the dying penalty.

Higgs was convicted of ordering the 1996 murders of three girls in Maryland. Montgomery was convicted of utilizing a rope to strangle a pregnant girl in 2004 after which utilizing a kitchen knife to chop the newborn lady from the womb, authorities mentioned.

The Bureau of Prisons confirmed in a press release on Thursday that inmates on federal dying row have examined optimistic for Covid-19. As of Thursday, there have been greater than 300 inmates with confirmed circumstances at FCC Terre Haute. The Bureau of Prisons mentioned “many of those inmates are asymptomatic or exhibiting delicate signs”.

Nationwide, one in each 5 state and federal prisoners has examined optimistic for the coronavirus, a price greater than 4 occasions as excessive as the overall inhabitants, in line with information collected by the Related Press and the Marshall Mission.

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