Prosecutors say Bourgeois tortured, sexually molested, and then beat to death his 2 1/2-year-old daughter to death.
Johnson was one of three crack cocaine dealers convicted in a string of murders. Prosecutors said he killed seven people in in an attempt to expand the territory of a Richmond, Virginia, gang and silence informants. His co-defendants, members of same drug gang, are also on death row.
Johnson’s lawyers argue their client is intellectually disabled, and thus it would be unconstitutional to put him to death. The Supreme Court has held that it is unlawful to execute a person who is of such a low intelligence that they can’t function in society.
His lawyers say "no jury or court has ever listened to the evidence at a hearing to decide if he has intellectual disability.”
Higgs was convicted of ordering the 1996 murders of three women at a federal wildlife center near Beltsville, Maryland. Prosecutors say Higgs and two others abducted the women after Higgs became enraged because one of the women rebuffed his advances at party.
Higgs’ attorney, Sean Nolan, said his client didn’t kill anyone, had ineffective attorneys and didn’t deserve the death penalty. Higgs’ co-defendant, who prosecutors said carried out the killings, was not sentenced to death and Nolan said it is “arbitrary and inequitable to punish Mr. Higgs more severely than the person who committed the murders.”
All three men are Black, as were those who were recently executed. One upcoming execution has been placed on hold, in part because the death row inmate's lawyers got coronavirus.
When executions resumed this year, the death-row inmates chosen were all white. Critics have argued that executing white inmates first was a political calculation in a nation embroiled in racial bias concerns involving the criminal justice system.
A September report by the Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center said Black people remain overrepresented on death rows, including federal death row. The organization's database shows that 25 of 55 federal death row inmates (46%) are Black, while Blacks make up only about 13% of the U.S. population.
Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed to this report.