For the first time in 70 years, the US government enforced a death penalty order for a female criminal.
At a correctional complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, 52-year-old Lisa Montgomery received a lethal injection and was pronounced dead at 1:31 am. Montgomery became the first woman to be executed by the federal government since 1953 and the only woman to be sentenced to death.
52-year-old Montgomery was injected at a prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. The US Supreme Court overturned a district court’s earlier decision to hold a hearing on Montgomery’s sanity.
The woman’s lawyers argued that she had a congenital brain defect, and she simply did not understand what exactly was happening to her. “Montgomery suffers from brain damage and severe mental illness, which was compounded by the sexual abuse she suffered throughout her life by those who were supposed to take care of her,” the woman’s lawyers said earlier during a hearing in district court. …
“In her current mental state, Montgomery is so distant from reality that she cannot rationally judge the reasons why the government intends to execute her,” the judge said.
Nevertheless, a little later, a decision was made to execute her.
Lisa Montgomery was sentenced to death back in 2007
She has already been postponed twice – first, Montgomery was supposed to be given a lethal injection on December 8, but her lawyers were infected with Covid-19. The execution was postponed to January 12, but Judge James Hanlon postponed it. The Supreme Court allowed Montgomery’s execution Wednesday morning.
The Montgomery Crime
Lisa Montgomery was sexually and physically abused by her stepfather for several years as a child. According to her lawyers, her treatment was so cruel that it amounted to torture.
At the age of 36 (this was in 2004), she attacked 23-year-old Bobby Joe Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant.
Montgomery removed the baby from Stinnett’s body, strangling her with a rope until she lost consciousness. The woman died from blood loss.
Montgomery met her victim through the Rat Terrier Forum. They corresponded for several months. Montgomery told Stinnett she was expecting a baby too. The women discussed pregnancy, and then agreed that Montgomery would buy a puppy from Stinnett.
In December 2004, Montgomery arranged to meet with Stinnett to see the puppies. She traveled 281 kilometers from her home in Kansas to Skidmore, Missouri, where her victim lived.
However, Stinnett did not expect Montgomery to come to her. The killer made an appointment with her using a pre-established fake account in the name of Darlene Fisher.
When Stinnett opened the door, Montgomery attacked her with a rope, and after Stinnett passed out, cut the fruit out of her body with a kitchen knife.
Investigators quickly realized that no Darlene Fisher existed and the very next day they tracked Montgomery down by the IP address from which she corresponded with the victim.
When the police found her, they found her baby, a girl. Montgomery initially claimed that this was her daughter, who was born the day before, but then confessed to the murder.
She was found guilty of a crime in 2007. The next day she was sentenced to death.
Since 2008, Montgomery has been held in the federal women’s prison in Texas, where he is undergoing mental health care. After the date of Montgomery’s execution was announced, she was placed under special surveillance.
Last week of executions?
Before Montgomery, the last woman to be executed at the federal level in the United States was Bonnie Heady, who kidnapped and killed a child in 1953 for ransom. She was sentenced to capital punishment and sent to the gas chamber.
Montgomery was executed a week before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, who intends to end the execution of federal death sentences.
The administration of outgoing President Donald Trump has resumed federal executions after a 17-year hiatus (although people have continued to be executed at the state level over the years).
There have been 10 federal executions since last summer, with Lisa Montgomery finishing 11th. Federal authorities are planning to execute two more convicts this week.
Instead of the death penalty, the Biden administration is proposing life imprisonment in the form of punishment without the possibility of being released on parole.
According to the latest Gallup study, 54% of Americans believe the death penalty is ethically acceptable. And while this percentage seems high, it is actually a record low – six percentage points lower than a year ago.