But Mr. Higgs was sentenced to death, a sentence his lawyers described as “arbitrary and unjust” compared to that of the man who shot the gun. His defense team pointed to a statement Mr. Haynes signed years after the crime claiming that Mr. Higgs did not threaten or induce him to do anything. Mr. Haynes claimed he shot the girls because he feared for Mr. Higgs’ life.
In a statement from the Bureau of Prisons, the sister of Ms. Jackson, one of Mr. Higgs ‘victims, said the news of Mr. Higgs’ execution date brought “mixed feelings” with her. His family is now suffering from the same pain they have experienced, she added.
“On the one hand, I felt we were finally going to get justice, on the other hand, I was sad about your family,” she said. “When the day is over, your death will not bring back my sister and the other victims. This is not a closure but a consequence of your actions. “
Mr Trump was not receptive to begging for indulgence for Mr Higgs or for any of the 12 inmates executed before him. The Supreme Court, which now has three Trump-appointed people and consolidates its Conservative majority, also denied his requests for redress. Shortly before the execution of Mr. Higgs, the judges had cleared a residence from the Fourth Circle, which temporarily blocked the government.
Each of the court’s more liberal justices said they disagreed. Judge Stephen G. Breyer listed questions raised in recent federal death penalty cases, including: “How does government use of pentobarbital for executions risk extreme pain and unnecessary suffering?” and, “Has an inmate demonstrated a reasonable likelihood that she is mentally incompetent – to the point that she will not understand the fact, meaning, or significance of her execution?”
“None of these legal issues are frivolous,” he wrote. “What do courts have to do when confronted with such legal questions? Should they just ignore them? Or should you hurry up, as in this case, hurry up? That is no solution.”
But the longer the delay, the weaker the “basic penological justifications” and the greater the psychological suffering of the prisoner. As before, Judge Breyer has questioned the constitutionality of the death penalty itself.