The U.S. government executed the first woman to be put on death row in nearly 70 years Wednesday after the Supreme Court vacated a stay that was granted hours before she was scheduled to die, numerous sources reported.
Lisa Montgomery, 52, was declared dead at 1:31 a.m. at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, after being given a pentobarbital lethal injection, Indy Star reported. The execution occurred several hours after initially scheduled due to a stay of execution a U.S. Court of Appeals granted Tuesday for a mental competence examination.
Breaking News: The Trump administration executed Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row and the first woman executed by the U.S. in nearly 70 years. https://t.co/UlSTFVaXvM
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 13, 2021
The Supreme Court vacated the stay, rejecting the application from Montgomery’s lawyers that argued that Montgomery had experienced sexual abuse throughout her childhood that led to mental illness. Her legal team says that the jury was never fully informed about her mental illnesses diagnosed by doctors, NBC reported. (RELATED: REPORT: Judge Halts First Federal Execution Of A Woman In Nearly 70 Years)
Montgomery was convicted in the murder of Bobbie Jo Stinnett, a 23-year-old pregnant woman who lived in Missouri. In December 2004, Montgomery reportedly drove 170 miles from her home in Kansas to meet with Stinnett, whom she met at a dog show, under the guise of adopting a puppy. Montgomery strangled Stinnett with a rope and then used a knife to remove the victim’s unborn child before fleeing with the baby, which Montgomery passed off as her own, according to reports.
Montgomery had no final words, according to the Associated Press.
Montgomery’s attorney, Kelley Henry, accused the federal government of violating the Constitution after executing Montgomery despite serious mental illness that precludes her from understanding her execution.
The Supreme Court split 6-3, with Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kalgan ruling to grant Montgomery a reprieve, according to Indy Star.
BREAKING: by a 6-3 vote, Supreme Court lets execution of first female federal inmate to proceed in 67 years. Lisa Montgomery will be put to death tonight. pic.twitter.com/1OU9rNuFi8
— Steven Mazie (@stevenmazie) January 13, 2021
“The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight. Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should feel shame,” Henry said in a statement to Indy Star.
“Our Constitution forbids the execution of a person who is unable to rationally understand her execution,” Henry added. “The current administration knows this. And they killed her anyway.”
Montgomery is the first woman to be executed by the federal government since 1953, when Bonnie Brown Heady was put to death in a gas chamber for her role in the kidnapping and murder of a child. Ethel Rosenberg, who tried to deliver war secrets to the Soviet Union, was also executed that year, according to Indy Star.
Montgomery was the first of the final three inmates scheduled for execution before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, but is the 11th to be executed since July.
Justin Higgs and Corey Johnson are the last inmates scheduled for execution under the Trump administration, but were granted a stay of execution Tuesday due to their recent COVID-19 infections. The two argued that the lung damage caused by the infection would cause the lethal injection to give them a “sensation of drowning akin to waterboarding,” thus making the method of death cruel and unusual if they have not recovered.