March 6, 2021

Supreme Court clears way for execution of only woman on federal death row

The US Supreme Court has overturned a
stay on convicted murderer Lisa Montgomery’s execution by the
8th US Circuit Court of Appeals, clearing the way for
application of the death penalty for the only woman on federal
death row in the United States, who doctors say is brain-damaged
and mentally ill.

Montgomery’s execution would mark the first time the US
government has implemented the death sentence for a female
prisoner since 1953.

Challenges were fought across multiple federal courts on
whether to allow execution of Montgomery, 52, who had initially
been scheduled to be killed by lethal injections of
pentobarbital, a powerful barbiturate, at 6 pm EST (2300 GMT)
on Tuesday in the Justice Department’s execution chamber at its
prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Kelley Henry, Montgomery’s lawyer, in scathing remarks,
called the pending execution, “vicious, unlawful, and
unnecessary exercise of authoritarian power. ”

“No one can credibly dispute Mrs. Montgomery’s longstanding
debilitating mental disease – diagnosed and treated for the
first time by the Bureau of Prisons’ own doctors, ”Henry said in
a statement.

Montgomery was convicted in 2007 in Missouri for kidnapping
and strangling Bobbie Jo Stinnett, then eight months pregnant.
Montgomery cut Stinnett’s fetus from the womb. The child

Some of Stinnett’s relative have traveled to witness
Montgomery’s execution, the Justice Department said.

(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru;
Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Kenneth Maxwell)