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US DOJ Executes Corey Johnson, Who Could Barely Read or Write

Yesterday at 11:34PM EST, Corey Johnson, an intellectually disabled man on federal death row who could barely read or write, was executed by the United States Government in Terre Haute, Indiana. There have now been twelve federal executions carried out by the Trump Administration since July 2020.

Corey Johnson gave a statement before being executed:

“I want to say that I am sorry for my crimes. I wanted to say that to the families who were victimized by my actions, and I want these names to be remembered. Louis Johnson, Anthony Carter, Dorothy Armstrong, Curtis Thorne, Linwood Chiles, Peyton Johnson, Bobby Long I would have said I was sorry before, but I didn’t know how. I hope you will find peace. 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. To the staff in the SCU. Thank you, you have been kind. The pizza and strawberry shake were wonderful, but I didn’t get the jelly-filled donuts that ordered. What’s with that? This should be fixed. Thanks to the Chaplain who has been kind. Thanks to my legal team. Don has been more than a lawyer, he has become a friend. I am thankful to my minister. I am okay. I am at peace.”

Attorneys for Mr. Johnson also issued a statement:

(January 14, 2021) “Tonight, the government executed Corey Johnson, a person with intellectual disability, in stark violation of the Constitution and federal law. The government’s arbitrary rush to execute Mr. Johnson, who was categorically ineligible for execution due to his significant impairments, rested on procedural technicalities rather than any serious dispute that he was intellectually disabled. No court ever held a hearing to consider the overwhelming evidence of Mr. Johnson’s intellectual disability. And the clemency process failed to play its historic role as a safeguard against violations of due process and the rule of law. “Corey simply lacked the capacity to operate as the “drug kingpin” the government falsely portrayed him as for nearly 30 years. He could barely read or write, he struggled with basic tasks of daily living, and was – like many with intellectual disability – a follower, desperate for approval, support, and guidance. “We loved Corey Johnson, and we knew him as a gentle soul who never broke a rule in prison and kept trying, despite his limitations, to pass the GED. His family and loved ones are in our hearts. “We wish also to say that the fact Corey Johnson should never have been executed cannot diminish the pain and loss experienced by the families of the victims in this case. We wish them peace and healing.” – Donald P. Salzman and Ronald J. Tabak, Counsel for Corey Johnson – January 14, 2021

Families of Corey Johnson and murder victim family members declined to offer statements following the execution.

We hope for the continued healing of all victims of the death penalty.

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