The United States is set to execute a female federal detainee for the first time in 67 years, says Donald Trump’s Department of Justice.
Lisa Montgomery, who strangled a woman in Missouri in 2004 and stole her unborn child, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at the U.S. prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, on December 8.
Montgomery, whose lawyers have long claimed she has brain damage due to strokes as a child and suffers from psychosis and other mental conditions, is the first woman executed by the US government since Bonny Brown Heady in December 1
Attorney General William Barr announced the decision to proceed with the execution of Montgomery, 52, in a statement that also detailed a December 10 execution date for Brandon Bernard, 40, who along with two accomplices were found guilty of the murder of two churches ministers of Texas in 1999.
Barr said the crimes were “particularly heinous murders”. Montgomery, who cut Bobby Jo Stinnett’s stomach up and took her daughter, is the only woman among 55 federal inmates awaiting execution, according to the death penalty information center.
Under Barr, seven executions of federal prisoners have taken place since July. Before that, only three inmates had been executed since the restoration of the federal death penalty in 1998, the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and another in 2001, the other two years later.
In state prisons, 16 women have been executed since a 1976 Supreme Court ruling lifted a moratorium on the death penalty throughout the United States. The most recent was in September 2015, when Kelly Renee Gissendaner received a lethal injection in Georgia for the murder of her husband in 1997.
Montgomery’s lawyer, Kelley Henry, attacked Barr’s decision as an “injustice”.
“In the grip of her mental illness, Lisa committed a horrific crime,” Henry, an assistant public defender in Nashville, Tennessee, said in a statement. “Nevertheless, she immediately expressed deep remorse and was willing to admit guilt in exchange for a life sentence without the possibility of release.
“Lisa Montgomery has long accepted full responsibility for her crime, and she never leaves prison. But her serious mental illness and the devastating consequences of her childhood trauma make execution of her a profound injustice. ”
Now 16, Stinnett’s daughter, Victoria Jo, was raised by her father. In 2004, Montgomery’s husband said he was unaware that the baby his wife brought home was not theirs.
“I had no idea,” Kevin Montgomery said. “I certainly hope so [the Stinnett family] get as much support from their church and community as I have because we all need it. ”