Dustin John Higgs is scheduled to be executed by the outgoing Trump administration just five days before the presidential inauguration of death-penalty opponent Joe Biden. The date of his killing, along with those of two other Black federal death-row prisoners, was announced by Attorney General Bill Barr in a last-minute press release that stated the three men are “inmates sentenced to death for staggeringly brutal murders.”
But Higgs has killed no one, a fact confirmed by all witnesses, including co-defendant Willis Haynes, who pleaded guilty to fatally shooting the three victims in the 1996 case and was sentenced by a federal jury to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The government has attempted to justify its revenge killing of Higgs by claiming that he bullied Haynes into committing the murders, but in a 2012 signed affidavit, Haynes himself wrote that “the prosecution’s theory of our case was bullshit. Dustin didn’t threaten me. I was not scared of him. Dustin didn’t make me do anything that night or ever.”
Higgs is slated to die on Jan. 15, the birth date of Martin Luther King Jr., a fitting final statement of disregard for Black life from an administration defined by its racism.