Lisa Montgomery, a convicted murderer, has been executed on Wednesday. She was the only female inmate on federal death row, and first female inmate to be executed by the United States government since 1953.
According to the report by Reuters, challenges were fought across multiple federal courts on whether to allow the execution of Lisa Montgomery, 52, who was put to death by lethal injection of pentobarbital, a powerful barbiturate in the Justice Department’s execution chamber at its prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.
The U.S. Supreme Court, with its conservative majority, cleared the way for her execution after overturning a stay by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Kelley Henry, Montgomery’s lawyer, called the execution “vicious, unlawful, and unnecessary exercise of authoritarian power.”
“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.
She was pronounced deceased at 1:31 a.m. EST (0631 GMT) on Wednesday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said in a statement.
Lisa Montgomery was convicted in 2007 in Missouri of kidnapping and strangling Bobbie Jo Stinnett, then eight months pregnant.
Lisa Montgomery cut Stinnett’s fetus from the womb. The child survived.
Some of Stinnett’s relatives travelled to witness Montgomery’s execution, the Justice Department said.
As the execution process began, asked by a female executioner if she had any last words, Lisa Montgomery responded in a quiet, muffled voice, “No,” according to a reporter who served as a media witness.
Federal executions had been on pause 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 capital punishment long predates his entry into politics.
Montgomery’s lawyers asked for Trump’s clemency last week, saying she committed her crime after a childhood in which she was abused and repeatedly raped by her stepfather and his friends, and so should instead face life in prison.
It was one of three executions the U.S. 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.
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 it was for the first time ever that the federal government conducted more executions than all U.S. states combined, according to a database compiled by the Death Penalty Information Center.