U.S. executes Lisa Montgomery, first woman put to death in federal system since 1953

Posted 5 days ago


Lisa Montgomery, a convicted killer whose attorneys say had debilitating mental disease, was executed in a federal prison in Indiana early Wednesday. She was the first woman executed in the federal system in nearly seven decades.

Montgomery was convicted of strangling a Missouri woman who was eight months pregnant in 2004 and taking her unborn baby, who survived.

The 52-year-old woman was pronounced dead at 1:31 a.m. after receiving a lethal injection at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said.

The Supreme Court early Wednesday lifted an appeals court stay that had blocked the execution, and it denied a request for a stay filed by Montgomery's attorneys that raised mental illness concerns.

"The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight," Kelley Henry, an attorney for Montgomery, said in a statement.

Henry has said that Montgomery suffers from severe mental illness that was "exacerbated by the lifetime of sexual torture she suffered at the hands of caretakers," and her lawyers sought a chance to prove her incompetence.

The execution of Montgomery will come in the waning days of the Trump administration, which in 2019 announced plans to carry out the first federal executions in 17 years. President-elect Joe Biden has suggested he would put a moratorium on the federal death penalty.

Montgomery was initially set to be executed in December, but the date was delayed after her attorneys, who are based in Nashville, Tennessee, contracted the coronavirus amid traveling to Texas and working on her case.

The spread of Covid-19 across prisons, including at the Terre Haute, Indiana, facility where all federal executions take place, contributed to increased criticism over the resumption of the federal death penalty last year, even as states put a halt to executions.

So far, the Trump administration has put 10 people to death over the past seven months, amounting to the most executions in a presidential lame-duck period in more than 130 years.

Montgomery's execution, which had been planned for Tuesday, was one of three scheduled by the Department of Justice this week.

In a separate ruling on Tuesday, U. S. Judge Tanya S. Chutkan ruled to stay the two other federal executions scheduled for this week, those of Dustin Higgs and Corey Johnson.

Johnson, convicted of killing seven people related to his drug trafficking in Virginia, a... (Read more)