Corey Johnson, the Virginia man who killed seven in a burst of violence in 1992, was executed by the federal government by lethal injection on Thursday.
The 52-year-old convicted murderer and drug trafficker was pronounced dead at 11:34 p.m. ET at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was put to death by an injection of pentobarbital, a powerful barbiturate, after the Supreme Court rejected a plea to allow him to recover from COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
Johnson became the 12th inmate to be executed at the facility since the Trump administration in July pushed forward with its plans to resume federal executions after a 17-year pause.
He was convicted in the killing of seven people in Virginia in 1992 as part of a drug-trafficking ring.
In his final statement, Johnson apologized to the families of the victims, telling them he hoped they would find peace. He also thanked his legal team, prison staff, his minister, and the prison’s chaplain.
“I would have said I was sorry before, but I didn’t know how. I hope you will find peace,” he said, in a statement released by his lawyers. “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.”
In his final statement he named his victims—Peyton Johnson, Louis Johnson, Bobby Long, Dorothy Armstrong, Anthony Carter, Linwood Chiles, and Curtis Thorne—saying that he wants these names to be remembered.
The Supreme Court denied an effort late Thursday that claimed he was intellectually disabled, meaning that his execution would be unconstitutional.
His legal team argued that the IQ score of 77 that was presented at his 1993 trial was incorrect, and his real IQ is even lower, within the range of 70–75 threshold courts have used to determine intellectual disability.
“He is a person with intellectual disability who cannot constitutionally be executed,” Donald Salzman, an attorney for Johnson, had argued Thursday morning. “The government should withdraw Corey’s execution date, or President Trump should grant him clemency.”
Another execution has been scheduled by the U.S. Department of Justice this week—the execution of Dustin Higgs on Friday. Higgs is convicted in a separate murder.
Reuters contributed to this report.