Abe Bonowitz of Death Penalty Action, an execution abolitionist group, protests near the Terre Haute Federal Correctional Complex. Lisa Montgomery was pronounced dead. She was the first woman executed by the federal government in 67 years. “We should recognize Lisa Montgomery’s execution for what it was: the vicious, unlawful, and unnecessary exercise of authoritarian power,” her attorney Kelley Henry stated.
On Monday night, a federal court granted a stay of execution until Montgomery could undergo a competency hearing to determine her mental capacity. On Tuesday afternoon, the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued another stay, ruling that the date of her execution violates the sentencing court’s judgment. It was the third keeping Montgomery from death. A previous stay, issued by the D.C. Circuit court, found that the federal government had not followed the Federal Death Penalty Act when setting Montgomery’s execution date.
Those stays pushed any new execution date past the inauguration of Joe Biden, who has pledged to end the federal death penalty. There was hope for a woman whose life had been scarred by sexual abuse and torture.Top ArticlesHow the United States Chose toBecome a Country of Homelessness
But the Trump administration fought back. On Tuesday, a Chicago appeals court sided with the government and lifted Monday’s stay. Later that day, the Supreme Court vacated the DC court’s ruling and rejected the remaining applications.
Moments after the Supreme Court decision was announced, the white vans that transport witnesses to the execution chamber left the media center. One hour and fifteen minutes later, Montgomery was dead. According to Henry, Montgomery was denied a prayer with her spiritual adviser. “It was a needless indignity and a deprivation of really her basic humanity,” Amy Harwell, another one of Montgomery’s lawyers, told a HuffPost reporter following the execution. “He could have provided comfort and a prayer.”
In 2004, Montgomery drove from her Kansas home to Missouri, ostensibly to buy a puppy from Bobbie Jo Stinnett, a dog breeder who was eight months pregnant. She strangled Stinnett and removed Stinnett’s fetus. She returned home and attempted to pass off the newborn girl as her own. She was arrested the next day, and the baby was returned to Stinnett’s husband.