[Pnews] US government executes woman for first time in nearly seven decades

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jan 13 12:56:15 EST 2021

government executes woman for first time in nearly seven decadesJanuary 13,

*The United States executed Lisa Montgomery, a convicted murderer and the
only woman on federal death row, early on Wednesday, making her the first
female prisoner to be executed by the federal government since 1953.*

Montgomery was convicted in 2007 in Missouri of kidnapping and strangling
Bobbie Jo Stinnett, then eight months pregnant. Montgomery cut Stinnett’s
fetus from the womb and tried to pass off the child as her own.

After Montgomery was strapped to a gurney in the government’s death
chamber, a female executioner asked if she had any last words. Montgomery
responded in a quiet, muffled voice, “No,” according to a reporter who
served as a media witness.

Federal judges in multiple courts had delayed her execution to allow for
hearings on whether she was too mentally ill to understand her punishment
and whether the government had given insufficient notice of her execution
date under law.

But around midnight the US Supreme Court’s conservative majority summarily
dismissed the final obstacles, and Montgomery was pronounced dead at 1:31
a.m. EST (0631 GMT) at the Department of Justice’s execution chamber at a
prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. Some of Stinnett’s relatives attended as
witnesses but declined to speak with the media, the Justice Department said.

Montgomery’s execution was opposed by United Nations human rights experts,
several dozen former prosecutors, and multiple groups against violence to
women, prompting debate over the role past trauma can play in some of the
most horrific crimes prosecuted by the justice system.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the execution was “an indefensible
use of government power,” coming only a week before the presidential
inauguration of Joe Biden, a Democrat who takes office on Jan. 20 and says
he will seek to end the federal death penalty.

Montgomery was the 11th person executed on federal death row since the
practice was resumed last year under outgoing President Donald Trump, a
Republican and an outspoken proponent of capital punishment. Before Trump,
there had been only three federal executions since 1963.

Kelley Henry, Montgomery’s lawyer, called the execution “vicious, unlawful,
and unnecessary exercise of authoritarian power.” Some doctors who examined
Montgomery testified that her brain was structurally damaged and she
suffered from psychosis, auditory hallucinations and other mental illness,
exacerbated by the abuse and rapes she suffered at the hands of her mother
and stepfather.

“No one can credibly dispute Mrs. Montgomery’s longstanding debilitating
mental disease — diagnosed and treated for the first time by the Bureau of
Prisons’ own doctors,” Henry said in a statement. “Our Constitution forbids
the execution of a person who is unable to rationally understand her

Until this week, she had been held for many years at FMC Carswell in Texas,
a federal hospital prison for female inmates with mental illness.

It was one of three executions the US Department of Justice had scheduled
for the final full week of Trump’s administration. Two other executions
scheduled for Thursday and Friday have been delayed, for now at least, by a
federal judge in Washington, to allow the condemned murderers to recover
from COVID-19.

Source: Reuters
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