LISA Montgomery was scheduled to be the first female executed by the federal government in almost six decades – however a US judge has now blocked her execution.
She was sentenced to death after killing a pregnant woman and cutting the baby from her womb.
When was Lisa Montgomery due to be executed?
Lisa Montgomery was due to be executed on January 12, 2021 – days before Joe Biden, an opponent of the death penalty, takes office as the next president of the United States.
Montgomery was one of three federal inmates scheduled to die this week.
Cory Johnson and Dustin Higgs are scheduled to be put to death on January 14 and 15.
Mr Biden's inauguration is taking place on January 20.
The Justice Department resumed executions in summer 2020 after they were stopped for 17 years.
Eight people have been executed since July.
Where was the execution set to take place?
At the time, Justice Department officials said Montgomery was going to be executed by the state at US Penitentiary Terre Haute in Indiana.
She is the only woman on federal death row in the state.
Montgomery strangled pregnant Missouri mom Bobbie Jo Stinnett in 2004.
Montgomery – who was faking being pregnant at the time – strangled the 23-year-old before using a carving knife to slice her baby out of her womb.
Thankfully the little girl, Victoria Jo Stinnett, survived the attack and will turn 16 on December 16, 2020.
Why was her execution postponed?
The 52-year-old inmate's execution was initially scheduled for December 8.
It was first postponed after her lawyers tested positive for Covid-19 after visiting her behind bars.
The execution was then halted a second time after a judge granted a stay of execution, pending a competency hearing.
According to Reuters, U.S. judge James Patrick Hanlon blocked the execution from taking place on January 12, 2021 on mental health grounds.
The decision just hours before the execution was set to take place was taken based on evidence that Montgomery was unable to understand the government’s rationale for her execution.
Montgomery’s lawyers have argued that their client suffers from serious mental illnesses.
Attorney Sandra Babcock said in a statement: “No other woman has been executed for a similar crime, because most prosecutors have recognized that it is inevitably the product of trauma and mental illness.
“Executing Lisa Montgomery would be yet another injustice inflicted on a woman who has known a lifetime of mistreatment.”
How was Lisa Montgomery due be executed?
Lisa Montgomery was going to be executed by lethal injection – the most common method of death penalty in Indiana since 1995.
The current procedure requires that the lethal injection execution take place inside the walls of the Indiana State Prison at Michigan City before sunrise.
The Indiana code 35-38-6 requires that the execution must not occur until at least 100 days after the conviction.
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