Lisa Montgomery is due to be executed on January 12, during the term of office of US President Donald Trump. A US appeals court has cleared the death date of the only woman waiting to be executed in federal prison. Montgomery would be the first woman to be executed by US federal authorities in 67 years.
The verdict was passed on Friday by a panel of the Columbia District Court of Appeals. In doing so, they concluded that a lower court judge was wrong when he overturned the date of execution last week.
Montgomery was supposed to be executed by lethal injection on December 8th in federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. A judge had postponed the appointment after Montgomery’s lawyers became infected with the corona virus and could not visit their client.
A three-person panel of appellate judges has now ruled that the decision to overturn the execution date was wrong. January 12th was set as the new date. Montgomery’s legal team wants to keep trying to prevent the execution. They argue that Montgomery has serious mental illness. Instead of the death penalty, they say there will be a life sentence without parole.
The 52-year-old was sentenced to death for the murder of 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett in December 2004. According to authorities, she strangled the victim, who was eight months pregnant, and cut the baby out of the womb. After that, according to prosecutors, she took the girl with her and tried to pass her off as her own.
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Shortly before the end of the term in office, the Trump administration tried to have as many executions as possible. For the first time in US history, the federal authorities had ordered more enforcements than all US states combined.
With the executions after his electoral defeat in early November, Trump breaks with a US tradition. For the past 131 years, it has been common practice in the United States for outgoing US presidents not to have executions carried out.
President-elect Joe Biden, who will take office on January 20, is against the death penalty. According to his spokesman, he wants to work to ensure that it is no longer used. It is unclear whether this should also apply to executions at the federal level. (with AFP)