A woman who strangled a pregnant mom to death and cut out her unborn baby to parade around as her own has been executed.
Federal death row inmate Lisa Montgomery’s execution took place this morning. A lower court judge had vacated that execution date on Dec. 24 after Montgomery’s lawyers said they tested positive for coronavirus on their way to visit her in prison. But a federal appeals court reinstated the date.
After the Supreme Court cleared the last hurdle for her execution by overturning a stay, Montgomery, 52, was pronounced dead at 1:31 a.m. at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. She received a lethal injection seven-and-half hours after her originally scheduled time of execution, according to The Associated Press.
Now, Montgomery is the first female prisoner executed in a federal prison in almost 70 years.
In 2004, Montgomery murdered Bobbie Jo Stinnett, a 23-year-old pregnant woman, by strangling her with a rope. Using a kitchen knife, she then cut the baby from Stinnett’s womb and tried to pass the child off as her own.
Her lawyers had argued that she has suffered from mental illness. They also argued that past trauma in Montgomery’s life contributed to Stinnett’s murder.
“Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should feel shame,” Montgomery’s attorney, Kelley Henry said in a statement. “Lisa Montgomery’s execution was far from justice.”
Previously, U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss unlawfully vacated Montgomery’s execution date, the appellate judges ruled, according to The Associated Press. Moss had even ruled that the Bureau of Prisons had to wait until Friday before rescheduling the execution, which the appeals court also disagreed with.
“The federal government must be required to follow the law in setting any execution date, as the district court correctly held,” Meaghan VerGow, Montgomery’s attorney, said in a statement following the ruling Friday, CNN reported.
“The government should stop its relentless efforts to end her life,” VerGrow continued.
VerGow added that Montgomery’s legal team would formally ask the court to reconsider their reinstatement of the execution, according to CNN.
A Dec. 18 New York Times editorial argued that Montgomery shouldn’t be executed due to her history of sexual assault, physical abuse and mental illness.