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US executes COVID-19+ve murder convict, Corey Johnson

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 THE US government  has executed Corey Johnson, an intellectually impaired convicted  murderer suffering from COVID-19, marking one of the final two federal executions planned in the last days of Donald Trump’s presidency.

  Johnson, 52, was convicted of murdering seven people in Virginia in 1992 as part of a drug-trafficking ring.

  Some of his victims’ relatives could be heard clapping and cheering from a viewing room inside the US Department of Justice’s death chamber at its prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, after he was declared dead at   11.34pm on Thursday, witnesses said.

  In a separate viewing for Johnson’s family, one of his brothers chanted “I love you, brother! I love you, brother!” over and over again, a witness said.

  Johnson’s execution went ahead several hours after it was scheduled when the US Supreme Court rejected a petition by his lawyers saying he was too intellectually disabled to be legally executed.

  A ‘staggering’ number of prison executions is part of Donald Trump’s legacy as US president

  It is the twelfth federal execution since Mr Trump, a Republican, resumed the punishment last year after a 17-year hiatus and amid the coronavirus pandemic.

  The Supreme Court also declined to reinstate an  order from a lower court delaying the execution of Johnson and Dustin Higgs, scheduled to be executed on Friday, to allow them to recover from COVID-19 after they contracted the coronavirus in December.

  Johnson’s lawyers said he could barely read or write and had an IQ within the 70-75 point threshold courts have used to determine “mental retardation,” which precludes execution under the Federal Death Penalty Act. He was entitled to a court hearing on his disability, they said.

  “Tonight, the government executed Corey Johnson, a person with intellectual disability, in stark violation of the Constitution and federal law,” his lawyers said in a statement.

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