The federal government has had a busy six months of carrying out executions.
After a 17-year moratorium on federal executions following a Supreme Court order in 1972 which deemed them unconstitutional, executions of federal inmates resumed this July when “Attorney General William P. Barr directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to adopt a proposed Addendum to the Federal Execution Protocol—clearing the way for the federal government to resume capital punishment after a nearly two-decade lapse,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Since July, the federal government has put eight federal inmates to death by lethal injection, and on November 20th the Department of Justice added Alfred Bourgeois, Corey Johnson, and Dustin John Higgs to the roster.
Bourgeois is set to die on December 11 for the brutal murder of his 2-year-old daughter. He was charged with a federal crime because he was working as a truck driver and had his daughter in tow, crossing state lines, when he committed his abuses and the murder.
If that execution is not stayed or reprieved, his mandated death would make nine federal executions this year, which would be the most executions in one year since at least the 1920s, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
In fact, the most federal executions in one year since the 1920s were four, and that happened twice — once in 1938 and again in 1948, per the BoP.
While an unprecedented number of convicted killers have been put to death so far this year, several more were scheduled. However, some executions were halted by appeal, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
When Orlando Hall Was Put to Death on November 19 It Was the First Lame-Duck Execution in More Than 100 Years
Orlando Hall was the eighth federal prisoner to be executed this year. While his death was scheduled before the general election, the sentence was carried out after President Donald Trump lost.
Death Penalty Information Center reports “Hall’s execution was the first lame-duck execution for a federal crime in more than a century. The last lame-duck federal execution was January 25, 1889, during the first presidency of Grover Cleveland.”
While lame-duck death sentences are a “dramatic deviation from historical practices” according to the Death Penalty Information Center, it’s not unprecedented. And Trump is well-known to deviate from historical practices.
2 Federal Inmates Are Scheduled to Be Executed in 2 Consecutive Days in January
According to the DoJ, Johnson was a drug-trafficker who went on a killing spree in 1992, shooting seven people to death with whom he “perceived slights or rivalry in the drug trade.”
Higgs was convicted of killing three women in 1996. The DoJ reported he killed Tamika Black, 19; Tanji Jackson, 21; and Mishann Chinn, 23 in early January that year after he and some friends were hanging out with them in D.C. According to the DoJ, Jackson “rebuffed an advance” by Higgs, and instead of driving the young women home to Maryland, he and a friend drove them to Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge in that state where they shot the women to death.
Johnson is scheduled for execution on January 14 at the Federal Correctional Complex, in Terre Haute, Indiana. Higgs is set to be put to death the next day on January 15 at the same location.