A US judge suspended the execution of Lisa Montgomery, hours before she became the first woman to face capital punishment by federal authorities in nearly 70 years.
Montgomery, 52, incarcerated in Indiana, was to be given a lethal injection Tuesday night, 16 years after killing a pregnant woman to steal her fetus.
But Indiana’s Southern District Judge James Hanlon ordered a stay of execution Monday at the request of the woman’s attorneys. The lawyers justify their request in the mental health of their client.
“The information presented (…) contains much evidence that Montgomery’s current state of mind is so far from reality that it prevents him from rationally understanding the government’s motive for his execution,” the judge justified.
The magistrate indicated that the court will set a date for another hearing to evaluate his mental health.
In 2004, Montgomery, unable to have a new child, identified his victim, a dog breeder, on the internet and came to his home in Missouri with the excuse of buying him a terrier.
Instead, he strangled her, opened her uterus, took the baby – who survived – and left the 23-year-old in a pool of blood.
Without denying the seriousness of his crime, his defenders last week asked the President of the United States, Republican Donald Trump for clemency.
Lisa Montgomery suffers from mental disorders as a result of gang rapes during her childhood, according to the lawyers, who asked the president to commute the death sentence to life imprisonment.
Trump, a staunch supporter of the death penalty, did not immediately respond to the woman’s request, which was to become the first to be executed by federal authorities since 1953.
Since the resumption of federal executions in the United States in July, after a 17-year hiatus, ten men have been sentenced to death in Terre-Haute federal prison, where Montgomery is serving a sentence.
The arrival of Joe Biden, opposed to capital punishment, to power on January 20 could completely postpone the execution of the woman. The Democrat promised to work with Congress to abolish the death penalty. AFP
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