Story of Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on death row in US
New York, Jan 04: A US appeals court has cleared the way for the only woman on federal death row to be executed before president-elect Joe Biden takes office.
Lisa Montgomery was scheduled to be put to death in December at the federal correctional complex in Terre Haute, Indiana but a stay was put in place after her attorneys contracted Covid-19.
US district court judge Randolph Moss had earlier ruled that the justice department of the US had unlawfully rescheduled her execution, and had ignored an order from the Director of the Bureau of Prisons demanding her execution to be scheduled for January 12.
If the execution goes ahead, she will be the first female federal inmate to be put to death in almost 70 years.
The last woman to be executed by the US government was Bonnie Heady, who died in a gas chamber in Missouri in 1953, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
In December 2004, Montgomery drove from Kansas to the home of 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett, in Missouri, purportedly to purchase a puppy, according to a Department of Justice press release.
"Once inside the residence, Montgomery attacked and strangled Stinnett - who was eight months pregnant - until the victim lost consciousness," it says.
It was proven in the court that Montgomery first strangled Stinnett, who was also eight months pregnant and then used a knife to carve her womb. Montgomery cut into Stinnett's body to remove the baby, which she took with her in an attempt to pass it off as her own.
In 2007, a jury found Montgomery guilty of federal kidnapping resulting in death, and unanimously recommended a death sentence.
But Montgomery's lawyers say she experienced brain damage from beatings as a child and is mentally unwell, so should not face the death penalty.
According to a letter signed by lawyers asking for mercy for her, the health professionals have found out that Montgomery has suffered sexual violence and cruelty in the past and the crime she committed as a consequence of her sufferings.
The health professionals have also diagnosed Lisa with organic brain damage and serious mental illness that requires her to be heavily medicated at all times, the letter said.