biographical facts

Dustin Higgs biography: 13 things about accused Mishann Chinn, Tanji Jackson, Tamika Black murder mastermind


Dustin John Higgs was an African-American man born in Poughkeepsie, New York, United States. He is the 13th and final prisoner executed during the Donald Trump administration.

Higgs was accused of ordering his friend Willie Mark Haynes to fatally shoot three women namely Mishann Chinn, Tanji Jackson and Tamika Black, who were 23, 21 and 19, respectively, at the time of their deaths. Here are 13 more things about Higgs:

  1. He is the son of Alfonso Higgs and Marilyn M. Bennett. Diagnosed with cancer in 1980, his mother died in 1982. (a) In 1991, he moved from Poughkeepsie to Maryland, USA. (b)
  2. He and his then girlfriend Enidsia Darby have one son together. In 1995, the former couple conducted a bank fraud scheme and credit card scheme. When the police contacted her about the matter, he threatened to kill her if she identified him from the surveillance photographs. (c)
  3. On November 20, 1995, he got into an argument outside the Chaconia Nightclub in Washington, D.C., USA. While in his blue Mazda MPV van driven by Wondwossen Kabtamu, he shot out the windows of a vehicle. He was ultimately charged with the shooting in the D.C. Superior Court. (c)
  4. On December 10, 1995, he and Haynes fired shorts while the latter was having an argument in Laurel, Maryland with Rodney Simms about a woman. He and Haynes were charged in Maryland state court for the shooting. In April 1997, he pleaded guilty to the shooting and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. (c)
  5. On the evening on January 26, 1996, he travelled in his blue Mazda MPV van from his apartment in Laurel with Haynes and their friend Victor Gloria to Washington, D.C., USA where they picked up Jackson, Black and Chinn. He knew Jackson and they had arranged dates for Haynes and Gloria with Black and Chinn. They all returned to his apartment in Laurel where they drank alcohol and listened to music. The three men also smoked marijuana. During the early morning hours of January 27, 1996, he and Jackson argued and at around 4:30 a.m., a motorist found the bodies of Jackson, Chinn and Black with gunshot wounds on federal land in the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Prince George’s County, Maryland. He was with his then girlfriend Phyllis Smith at around 5:00 a.m. that day. (c)
  6. On March 21, 1996, Maryland-National Capital Park Police officers interviewed him in his apartment in Laurel about the murders of Jackson, Chinn and Black. The officers seized various documents, cash bundles, crack cocaine, a .380 semiautomatic firearm and boxes of ammunition for .380, .45 and .38 caliber weapons. He was arrested on bank fraud violations and federal drug charges not related to the murders. (c)
  7. On May 12, 1997, he pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and was ultimately sentenced to 17 years in prison. (c)
  8. On December 21, 1998, while he was serving his 17-year-sentence for a drug offense, he was indicted along with Haynes by a federal grand jury on charges related to the murders of Jackson, Black and Chinn. He and Haynes were indicted for three counts each of first-degree premeditated murder, first-degree murder committed in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of a kidnapping, kidnapping resulting in death and using a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence. The jury found him guilty on all charges on October 11, 2000. (c)
  9. On October 26, 2000, he was sentenced to death, making him the first person from Maryland to be sentenced to death in the federal court system. (c)
  10. He was incarcerated at U.S. Penitentiary, Terre Haute (USP Terre Haute) in Terre Haute, Indiana, USA. (d) On November 20, 2020, 85th U.S. attorney general William P. Barr directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule his execution. He was scheduled to be executed on January 15, 2021, five days before the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th U.S. president. (e)
  11. On December 16, 2020, the Federal Bureau of Prisons informed his legal team that he had tested positive for the new coronavirus (COVID-19). His lawyer Shawn Nolan said it was “surely the result of the super spreader executions that the government has rushed to undertake in the heart of a global pandemic.” His fellow death row inmate Corey Johnson had also tested positive for the virus, his legal team revealed on December 18, 2020. (f) 
  12. In a ruling on January 12, 2021, Judge Tanya Chutkan, a federal judge for Washington, D.C., ordered his and Johnson’s federal executions be delayed until at least March 16, 2021 to allow them to heal from COVID-19 but on January 14, 2021 a U.S. appeals court ordered that their scheduled executions could proceed. (g) Johnson was executed on January 14, 2021 as scheduled. (h)
  13.  On January 16, 2021, he was executed by lethal injection at USP Terre Haute. He was pronounced dead at 1:23 a.m. When asked if he had any last words, he said, “I’d like to say I am an innocent man. I am not responsible for the deaths. I did not order the murders.” (i)



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