The US government executed convicted murderer Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row, early Wednesday after the Supreme Court passed the final hurdle to her execution by overturning a stay.
Montgomery’s execution marked the first time a female prisoner has been executed since 1953 in the United States.
She was pronounced dead at 1:31 a.m. ET on Wednesday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said in a statement.
Several federal courts have challenged the authorization to allow the execution of Montgomery, 52, who was initially to be put to death by lethal injection of pentobarbital, a potent barbiturate on Tuesday in the execution chamber of the Department of Justice of his Terre Haute prison. , Indiana.
Kelley Henry, Montgomery’s lawyer, called the execution “a vicious, illegal and unnecessary exercise of authoritarian power.”
“No one can credibly dispute Ms. Montgomery’s long-standing debilitating mental illness – first diagnosed and treated by the Bureau of Prisons’ own doctors,” Henry said in a statement.
Convicted of murder in 2007
Montgomery was convicted in 2007 in Missouri for kidnapping and strangling Bobbie Jo Stinnett, then eight months pregnant. Montgomery cut Stinnett’s fetus from the womb. The child survived.
Some of Stinnett’s relatives have traveled to witness Montgomery’s execution, the Justice Department has said.
As the execution process began, an executioner asked if she had a final say, Montgomery replied in a calm, muffled voice, “No,” according to a reporter who served as a media witness.
Federal executions had been suspended for 17 years and only three men had been executed by the federal government since 1963 until the practice resumed last year under President Donald Trump, whose outspoken support for the death penalty predates well when he entered politics.
Montgomery’s attorneys sought leniency from Trump last week, saying she committed her crime after a childhood in which she was repeatedly abused and raped by her stepfather and friends, and that she would therefore face life imprisonment.
Has suffered brain damage, mental illness, says ACLU
This is one of three executions the US Department of Justice had scheduled for the last full week of the Trump administration. Two more executions scheduled for Thursday and Friday have been delayed, for now at least, by a federal judge in Washington, to allow convicted murderers to recover from COVID-19.
The United States Civil Liberties Union and some Liberal lawmakers had previously opposed government plans to execute Montgomery, with the ACLU saying his life was “marred by unthinkable trauma that resulted in brain damage and mental illness documented ”.
Montgomery’s execution was the first of 2021 by the federal government and the 11th since last year.
In 2020, the U.S. government executed 10 people and this is the first time the federal government has carried out more executions than all U.S. states combined, according to a database compiled by the Death Penalty Information Center.