US inmate scheduled to be executed assessments optimistic for virus


WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal prisoner scheduled to be executed simply days earlier than President-elect Joe Biden takes workplace has examined optimistic for coronavirus, his lawyer stated Thursday.

The Bureau of Prisons notified attorneys for Dustin John Higgs on Thursday that their consumer had examined optimistic for the virus, his lawyer Devon Porter stated throughout a courtroom listening to Thursday afternoon.

The revelation comes amid concern about an exploding variety of coronavirus instances within the federal jail system and particularly on the advanced in Terre Haute, Indiana, the place the executions are carried out. It’s the solely federal loss of life row.

Higgs is scheduled to be executed Jan. 15, simply 5 days earlier than death-penalty opponent Joe Biden’s inauguration. Higgs is the final of these presently scheduled to be executed in a collection of federal executions that started in July. The Trump administration could have executed extra individuals in a single yr than every other administration in additional than 130 years.

Higgs’ analysis marks the primary identified coronavirus case on federal loss of life row and raises the likelihood that his execution could possibly be delayed by a choose if his situation deteriorates. His attorneys have beforehand raised issues in regards to the risk their consumer would contract the virus and will current advanced well being points forward of the execution.

The Bureau of Prisons didn’t reply to questions from The Related Press about whether or not there have been every other COVID-19 instances reported amongst loss of life row inmates. As of Thursday, there have been greater than 300 inmates with confirmed instances of COVID-19 amongst inmates at FCC Terre Haute.

Two different executions are scheduled on the jail advanced within the days earlier than Higgs is ready to be put to loss of life.

Higgs was convicted of ordering the 1996 murders of three girls, Tamika Black, Mishann Chinn and Tanji Jackson, at a federal wildlife heart close to Beltsville, Maryland. Prosecutors say Higgs and two others kidnapped the ladies after Higgs turned enraged as a result of one of many girls rebuffed his advances at social gathering.

One other of Higgs’ attorneys, Sean Nolan, stated his consumer didn’t kill anybody, had ineffective attorneys and didn’t deserve the loss of life penalty. Higgs’ co-defendant, who prosecutors stated carried out the killings, was not sentenced to loss of life.

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