U.S. carries out its 1st execution of a female inmate since 1953

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — A Kansas woman was executed Wednesday for strangling an expectant mom in Missouri and reducing the child from her womb, the primary time in practically seven many years that the U.S. authorities has put to dying a female inmate.

Lisa Montgomery, 52, was pronounced lifeless at 1:31 a.m. after receiving a deadly injection on the federal jail advanced in Terre Haute, Indiana. She was the eleventh prisoner executed on the facility since July when President Donald Trump, an ardent supporter of capital punishment, resumed federal executions following 17 years with out one.

As a curtain was raised within the execution chamber, Montgomery appeared momentarily bewildered as she glanced at journalists peering at her from behind thick glass. A woman standing over her shoulder leaned over, gently eliminated Montgomery’s face masks and requested if she had any final phrases.

“No,” Montgomery responded in a quiet, muffled voice. She stated nothing else.

One of Montgomery’s attorneys, Amy Harwell, expressed shock that Montgomery’s religious adviser wasn’t contained in the chamber. An official instructed her Montgomery didn’t need the religious adviser there.

“I insisted that she did — as I was present when (the spiritual adviser) discussed with her his plan to sing ‘Jesus Loves You’ to her while the chemicals flowed,” Harwell stated.

Harwell stated that since Montgomery was nonetheless alive and the religious adviser nonetheless within the constructing, it ought to have been straightforward to rearrange for him to enter. But the guard stated it was too late to rearrange.

Asked about Harwell’s account, a spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Prisons stated the religious adviser was “afforded an opportunity” to be contained in the chamber.

Montgomery tapped her fingers nervously for a number of seconds — a heart-shaped tattoo on her thumb — confirmed no indicators of misery, and shortly closed her eyes. As the deadly injection started, Montgomery saved licking her lips and gasped briefly as pentobarbital, the deadly drug, entered her physique via IVs on each arms. A couple of minutes later, her midsection throbbed for a second, however shortly stopped.

Montgomery lay on a gurney within the pale-green execution chamber, her glasses on and her grayish brown hair spilling over a inexperienced medical pillow. At 1:30 a.m., an official in black gloves with a stethoscope walked into the room, listened to her coronary heart and chest, then walked out. She was pronounced lifeless a minute later.

“The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight,” one other Montgomery lawyer, Kelley Henry, stated. “Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should feel shame.”

“The government stopped at nothing in its zeal to kill this damaged and delusional woman,” Henry added. “Lisa Montgomery’s execution was far from justice.”

The household of Bobbie Jo Stinnett, the 23-year-old Montgomery killed within the northwest Missouri city of Skidmore in 2004, declined to touch upon the execution, prisons officers stated.

Her execution got here after hours of authorized wrangling earlier than the Supreme Court cleared the way in which for the execution to maneuver ahead. Montgomery was the primary of the ultimate three federal inmates scheduled to die earlier than subsequent week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, who is predicted to discontinue federal executions.

In a separate ruling Tuesday, which the federal government can nonetheless search to overturn, one other federal choose halted the scheduled executions later this week of Corey Johnson and Dustin Higgs after each examined optimistic for COVID-19 final month.

The men’s attorneys argued lung injury attributable to the coronavirus made it extra doubtless that the deadly injection would trigger them extreme ache. If they aren’t executed earlier than Biden turns into president, they might by no means be put to dying.

Montgomery used a rope to strangle Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, after which minimize the child girl from the womb with a kitchen knife. Montgomery took the kid along with her and tried to go the girl off as her personal.

An appeals court docket granted Montgomery a keep Tuesday, shortly after one other appeals court docket lifted an Indiana choose’s ruling that discovered she was doubtless mentally sick and couldn’t comprehend she could be put to dying. But each appeals had been lifted, permitting the execution to go ahead.

As the one woman on federal dying row, Montgomery had been held in a jail in Texas and was dropped at Terre Haute on Monday evening.

Montgomery’s authorized group says she suffered “sexual torture” for years, together with gang rapes, as a youngster, completely scarring her emotionally and exacerbating mental-health points that ran in her household.

At trial, prosecutors accused Montgomery of faking psychological sickness, noting her killing of Stinnett was premeditated and included meticulous planning, together with on-line research on how one can carry out a C-section.

Henry balked at that concept, citing mind scans that supported the prognosis of psychological sickness. She stated the difficulty on the core of authorized arguments was not whether or not she knew the killing was flawed in 2004 however whether or not she totally grasped why she was to be executed.

According to her attorneys, Montgomery suffered from despair, borderline character dysfunction and post-traumatic stress dysfunction. At across the time of the killing, they are saying she had a uncommon situation referred to as pseudocyesis through which a woman’s false perception she is pregnant triggers hormonal and bodily modifications as if she had been truly pregnant.

Montgomery additionally skilled delusions and hallucinations, believing God spoke along with her via connect-the-dot puzzles, protection specialists stated.

Details of the crime at instances left jurors in tears throughout her trial.

Prosecutors instructed the jury Montgomery drove about 170 miles (274 kilometers) from her Melvern, Kansas, farmhouse to the northwest Missouri city of Skidmore below the guise of adopting a rat terrier pet from Stinnett. She strangled Stinnett, carried out a crude cesarean and fled with the child.

Prosecutors stated Stinnett regained consciousness and tried to defend herself as Montgomery minimize the child girl from her womb. Later that day, Montgomery referred to as her husband from Topeka, Kansas, telling him she had delivered the child earlier within the day at a birthing heart.

Montgomery was arrested the following day after displaying off the untimely toddler, Victoria Jo, who’s now 16 years previous and hasn’t spoken publicly concerning the tragedy.

Prosecutors stated the motive was that Montgomery’s ex-husband knew she had undergone a tubal ligation that made her sterile and deliberate to disclose she was mendacity about being pregnant in an effort to get custody of two of their 4 kids. Needing a child earlier than a fast-approaching court docket date, Montgomery turned her deal with Stinnett, whom she had met at canine exhibits.

The final woman executed by the federal authorities was Bonnie Brown Heady on Dec. 18, 1953, for the kidnapping and homicide of a 6-year-old boy in Missouri.

Hollingsworth reported from Kansas. Associated Press author Michael Balsamo in Washington contributed to this report.

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