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When is Dustin John Higgs due to be executed?

DUSTIN John Higgs is a death row inmate who was sentenced for the 1996 murder and kidnapping of three young women in Maryland.

Higgs is one of two inmates set to be executed by the federal government this month along with 'womb raider' Lisa Montgomery.

What did Dustin John Higgs do?

Higgs is on death row for kidnapping and murdering three women – 19-year-old Tamika Black, 21-year-old Tanji Jackson, and 23-year-old Mishann Chinn – in Maryland.

In January 1996, Higgs and two friends drove from Washington, DC to Maryland to pick up Black, Jackson, and Chinn, whom Higgs had invited to his apartment in Laurel, Maryland.

Once at the apartment, Higgs made advances towards Jackson, which she rejected, and the girls ultimately all left together.

Higgs offered to take the women back to Washington DC, but instead, a secluded area in the Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge ordered the women out of the vehicle, gave a gun to one of his friends, and said, “better make sure they’re dead.” 

One of Higgs' friends shot Black and Jackson in the chest and back, and then shot Chinn in the back of the head, killing all three women.

When is his execution date?

Higgs is set to be executed on January 15, 2021.

Should Higgs be put to death this month, he will be executed at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

He is one of53 prisoners on death row in the US. There are sixteen people that were been executed in 2020, the highest in a single year since 1896.

In recent years, New Mexico, Illinois, Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Colorado have legally abolished the death penalty.

The death penalty is still legal, however, in 31 states.

The US government has been rushing to put inmates to death in a pandemic before President Donald Trump leaves office.

Why might his execution date be halted?

Higgs' executed could be stopped, as the prisoner has contracted coronavirus.

Higgs' attorneys have called on the Department of Justice to withdraw his execution date after he became sick with the virus.

The litigation states that the execution would be a violation of the US constitution's Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment while Higgs is still recovering from the coronavirus.

His lawyers have also filed a clemency petition that urges President Donald Trump "to commute Higgs' sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole," writes Newsweek.

Willis Haynes, Higgs' co-defendent, said in a sworn statement that Higgs "didn't make me do anything that night or ever" yet prosecutors relied on a "highly suspect" witness who testified that Higgs ordered Haynes to shoot the women.

The petition also notes that Higgs, who has been on death row for decades, is a model inmate.

Higgs, who is now 48, is father to son Da'Quan Darby, who was born shortly after his arrest.

"From a child to adulthood, my father was always there for me to confide in, to laugh with, to cry with, and even get upset with," Darby wrote in a letter supporting the clemency application.

"But he was always there and has been my number one supporter, showed me what love is, and taught me to be a better man. I cannot imagine or think of where I could've ended up without the love and encouragement of my father."

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