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An inmate who is scheduled to be executed on January 15, just five days before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office has caught COVID-19, the Associated Press reported.
Lawyers for Dustin John Higgs revealed during a court hearing on Thursday that the inmate is infected.
COVID-19 cases have soared in prisons all over the US. The AP reported the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, where Higgs is being held has over 300 confirmed cases of the illness among inmates.
Higgs is the last of five inmates who were scheduled for executions during President Donald Trump’s lame-duck period. Brandon Bernard was the first to be executed during that period last week.
Attorney General William Barr directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule Higgs’ execution in November. Higgs was on death row for the kidnapping and murder of three women in January 1996. Higgs and two friends allegedly drove the women to a secluded area at the Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland where Higgs told his friend to kill them after one of them rejected his advances.
Sean Nolan, one of Higgs’ attorneys, said his client didn’t kill anyone and had ineffective lawyers. Additionally, one of his co-defendants who reportedly carried out the killings did not get a death sentence.
Activists have called on the Trump administration to halt executions during the transition period, and 40 congressional members asked Biden to abolish the death penalty in all jurisdictions on his first day in office.