Corey Johnson's Final Words Before Execution of Death Row Inmate

Corey Johnson has been executed by lethal injection for the murder of seven people during his involvement with the drug trade in Richmond, Virginia, in 1992.

His crimes included shooting a rival drug dealer, the killing of a woman over a crack cocaine debt and the shooting a man he suspected of helping the police.

Johnson, who died aged 52 on Thursday, became the 12th federal inmate to be put to death under President Trump—the most under any administration in more than a century.

Dustin John Higgs, convicted for ordering the murder of three women in the Washington, D.C. area in 1996, is scheduled to die later on Friday.

In his final words (which are in full below), Johnson apologized for his crimes, telling the families of those killed: "I hope you will find peace."

He said he had been "blind and stupid" and "looking for shortcuts" while he was on the streets, adding: "I am not the same man that I was."

He paid tribute to his family, telling them he had "good role models," and staff at the Special Confinement Unit (SCU), where he had been held. He also thanked his chaplain, his minister and his legal team.

Corey Johnson was executed aged 52
Corey Johnson, who was convicted over the murders of seven people in Virginia in 1992, has been put to death. Richmond Police

At one point in the message, Johnson bemoaned a missing dessert from his last meal. "The pizza and strawberry shakes were wonderful, but I didn't get the jelly-filled doughnuts that I ordered," he said. "What's with that? This should be fixed."

Johnson's message ended with the words: "I am at peace."

He was pronounced dead at 11:34 p.m. ET, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

His legal team, which included Donald Salzman—whom Johnson said had "become a friend"—and Ronald Tabak, issued a statement following the execution.

They had argued Johnson had intellectual disabilities and that putting him to death violated a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that such action contradicted constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

However, the Supreme Court rejected their final challenge on Thursday, overruling a lower court's decision to delay his execution while he recovered from COVID-19.

"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."

The statement said Johnson had been falsely portrayed by the government as a "drug kingpin" when he "struggled with basic tasks of daily living." "Like many with intellectual disability," it said, Johnson was "a follower, desperate for approval, support, and guidance."

The lawyers added: '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."

Corey Johnson's final words

"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 shakes were wonderful, but I didn't get the jelly-filled doughnuts that I 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 OK. I am at peace."