A US appeals court has lifted a stay of execution on the only woman awaiting a federal death penalty.
Lisa Montgomery, a convicted killer who strangled a pregnant woman in and then cut the unborn baby from her womb, 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, 52, was pronounced dead at a.
Wednesday after receiving a lethal injection at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said. Earlier Wednesday, the Supreme Court 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.
Lisa montgomery: only woman on us federal death row to face execution
Henry has said that Montgomery suffered 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 comes in the waning days of the Trump administration, which in 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.
U.s. executes lisa montgomery, first woman put to death in federal system since
The spread of Covid across prisons, including at the 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. With Wednesday's lethal injection, the Trump administration has put 11 people to death over the past seven months, the most executions in a presidential lame-duck period in more than years. Montgomery's execution, which had been planned for Tuesday, was one of three scheduled by the Department of Justice this week.
In a ruling Tuesday, Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of the U. Johnson, convicted of killing seven people related to drug trafficking in Virginia, and Higgs, convicted of ordering the murders of three women in Maryland, both tested positive for Covid last month. Chutkan wrote in her decision that it is not in the public interest to execute the two men. In DecemberMontgomery, then 36 and living in Kansas, crossed state lines to the Missouri home of Bobbie Jo Stinnett, whom she had met at a dog show, federal prosecutors said.
Stinnett was eight months pregnant. Montgomery strangled Stinnett with a rope and used a kitchen knife she had brought from home to remove the fetus, according to court documents. The baby girl survived.
Montgomery tried to pass her off as her own, but was quickly arrested and later convicted by a jury and sentenced unanimously to death. Montgomery had been incarcerated in an all-female federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, where staff is trained to deal with mental health issues. Her lawyers said that they weren't arguing that she didn't deserve to be punished, but rather that the jury never fully learned of her severe mental illnesses as diagnosed by doctors.
Federal and state executions - what's the difference?
In a nearly 7, clemency petition filed this month, her lawyers say her mother's alcoholism caused her to be born brain-damaged and "resulted in incurable and ificant psychiatric disabilities. It is easy to call Mrs. Montgomery evil and a monster, as the Government has. She is neither. Diane Mattingly, an older sister of Montgomery, told reporters last week that she, too, suffered sexual abuse in the home before being placed in foster care.
She has been vocal in recent months that her sister's life should be spared. Lisa did not, and she broke.
She literally broke. In October, the Justice Department described the case as an "especially heinous" murder. The Missouri community where her victim had lived gathered last month to remember Stinnettwith some expressing support for Montgomery's execution.
Lisa montgomery, 1st woman to face federal execution in decades: lawyers have covid, seek delay
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Afghan latest U. Share this —. Follow NBC News. By Erik Ortiz and Phil Helsel. Execution delayed for Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row Dec. Politics After 2 federal death row inmates get Covid, senators seek watchdog investigation.
Erik Ortiz. Phil Helsel. Kimberly Flores Gaynor contributed.