“I know you know people like, ‘Death penalty is wrong’, but at what point do you apologize for something like this?” he asked several days before Mrs. Montgomery was killed. “I think you know it’s not always right to say one eye for an eye, but I think society is hurt enough that it will definitely help with a closure.”
Still, Ms. Montgomery’s lawyers cited the repeated physical and sexual abuse she endured as a child in prayers for a reduction of fines, arguing that President Trump would confirm the experience of surviving abuse by commuting his sentence to life in prison. Her mother forced her to “pay the bills”
Women are scarce on the death penalty in the United States. According to a quarterly report from the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, only 2 percent of inmates on death row are women. With Mrs. Montgomery’s execution, there are now no women on the federal death row.
The last women to be executed by the federal government were Bonnie Brown Heady for kidnapping and murder and Ethel Rosenberg for espionage, both in 1953.
Montgomery’s execution was originally scheduled for last month. But after two of her lawyers contracted coronavirus, a judge delayed it and the Department of Justice moved on.
In her last days, Mrs. Montgomery found some fleeting adjournment in the courts. Her lawyers had claimed she was incompetent to execute, citing mental illness, neurological impairment and complex trauma. A federal judge in Indiana issued a stay Monday night so the court could hold a hearing to determine her jurisdiction. But a panel at the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals left this stay on Tuesday, writing that Mrs Montgomery’s claim could have been made earlier. The judges also cited the Supreme Court’s precedent, which emphasizes that last-minute execution stays “should be the extreme exception, not the norm.”
Still, other court rulings continued to block her execution well after the Bureau of Prisons’ tentatively scheduled execution time at 6 p.m. 18 The U.S. District Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia Circuit issued a separate stay so that the court could hear her claims under the Federal Death Penalty Act and the Eighth Court of Appeal issued its own stay.