Federal Execution Montgomery
FILE - This undated file image provided by Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery shows Lisa Montgomery. An appeals court granted a stay of execution Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, for Montgomery, convicted of killing a pregnant woman and cutting the baby from her womb in the northwest Missouri town of Skidmore in 2004. (Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery via AP, File)
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U.S. carries out its 1st execution of female inmate since 1953

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By MICHAEL TARM and HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH

A Kansas woman was executed Wednesday for strangling an expectant mother in Missouri and cutting the baby from her womb, the first time in nearly seven decades that the U.S. government has put to death a female inmate.

Lisa Montgomery, 52, was pronounced dead at 1:31 a.m. after receiving a lethal injection at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. She was the 11th prisoner to receive a lethal injection there since July when President Donald Trump, an ardent supporter of capital punishment, resumed federal executions following 17 years without one.

As a curtain was raised in the execution chamber, Montgomery looked momentarily bewildered as she glanced at journalists peering at her from behind thick glass. As the execution process began, a woman standing over Montgomery’s shoulder leaned over, gently removed Montgomery’s face mask and asked her if she had any last words. “No,” Montgomery responded in a quiet, muffled voice. She said nothing else.

She tapped her fingers nervously for several seconds, a heart-shaped tattoo on her thumb, showed no signs of distress, and quickly closed her eyes. As the lethal injection began, Montgomery kept licking her lips and gasped briefly as pentobarbital, a lethal drug, entered her body through IVs on both arms. A few minutes later, her midsection throbbed for a moment, but quickly stopped.

Montgomery lay on a gurney in the pale-green execution chamber, her glasses on and her grayish brown hair spilling over a green medical pillow. At 1:30 a.m., an official in black gloves with a stethoscope walked into the room, listened to her heart and chest, then walked out. She was pronounced dead a minute later.

“The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight,” Montgomery’s attorney, Kelley Henry said in a statement. “Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should feel shame.”

“The government stopped at nothing in its zeal to kill this damaged and delusional woman,” Henry said. “Lisa Montgomery’s execution was far from justice.”

It came after hours of legal wrangling before the Supreme Court cleared the way for the execution to move forward. Montgomery was the first of the final three federal inmates scheduled to die before next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, who is expected to discontinue federal executions.

But a federal judge for the District of Columbia halted the scheduled executions later this week of Corey Johnson and Dustin Higgs in a ruling Tuesday. Johnson, convicted of killing seven people related to his drug trafficking in Virginia, and Higgs, convicted of ordering the murders of three women in Maryland, both tested positive for COVID-19 last month.

Montgomery killed 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett in the northwest Missouri town of Skidmore in 2004. She used a rope to strangle Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, and then cut the baby girl from the womb with a kitchen knife. Montgomery took the child with her and attempted to pass the girl off as her own.

An appeals court granted Montgomery a stay of execution Tuesday, shortly after another appeals court lifted an Indiana judge’s ruling that found she was likely mentally ill and couldn’t comprehend she would be put to death. But both appeals were lifted, allowing the execution of the only female on federal death row to go forward.

As the only woman on federal death row, Montgomery had been held in a federal prison in Texas and was brought to Terre Haute on Monday night.

Montgomery’s legal team says she suffered “sexual torture,” including gang rapes, as a child, permanently scarring her emotionally and exacerbating mental-health issues that ran in her family.

At trial, prosecutors accused Montgomery of faking mental illness, noting that her killing of Stinnett was premeditated and included meticulous planning, including online research on how to perform a C-section.

Henry balked at that idea, citing extensive testing and brain scans that supported the diagnosis of mental illness. She said the issue at the core of the legal arguments are not whether she knew the killing was wrong in 2004 but whether she fully grasps why she is slated to be executed now.

U.S. District Judge James Patrick Hanlon, who had halted Montgomery's execution before the stay was overturned on appeal, cited defense experts who alleged Montgomery suffered from depression, borderline personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Montgomery, the judge wrote, also suffered around the time of the killing from an extremely rare condition called pseudocyesis in which a woman’s false belief she is pregnant triggers hormonal and physical changes as if she were actually pregnant.

Montgomery also experiences delusions and hallucinations, believing God spoke with her through connect-the-dot puzzles, the judge said, citing defense experts. The government has acknowledged Montgomery’s mental issues but disputes that she can’t comprehend that she is scheduled for execution for killing another person because of them.

Details of the crime at times left jurors in tears during her trial.

Prosecutors told the jury Montgomery drove about 170 miles (274 kilometers) from her Melvern, Kansas, farmhouse to the northwest Missouri town of Skidmore under the guise of adopting a rat terrier puppy from Stinnett. She strangled Stinnett performing a crude cesarean and fleeing with the baby.

Prosecutors said Stinnett regained consciousness and tried to defend herself as Montgomery cut the baby girl from her womb. Later that day, Montgomery called her husband to pick her up in the parking lot of a Long John Silver’s in Topeka, Kansas, telling him she had delivered the baby earlier in the day at a nearby birthing center.

Montgomery was arrested the next day after showing off the premature infant, Victoria Jo, who is now 16 years old and hasn’t spoken publicly about the tragedy.

Prosecutors said the motive was that Montgomery’s ex-husband knew she had undergone a tubal ligation that made her sterile and planned to reveal she was lying about being pregnant in an effort to get custody of two of their four children. Needing a baby before a fast-approaching court date, Montgomery turned her focus on Stinnett, whom she had met at dog shows.

Anti-death penalty groups said Trump was pushing for executions prior to the November election in a cynical bid to burnish a reputation as a law-and-order leader.

The last woman executed by the federal government was Bonnie Brown Heady on Dec. 18, 1953, for the kidnapping and murder of a 6-year-old boy in Missouri.

The last woman executed by a state was Kelly Gissendaner, 47, on Sept. 30, 2015, in Georgia. She was convicted of murder in the 1997 slaying of her husband after she conspired with her lover, who stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.


24 Comments
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The death penalty serves zero purpose beyond retribution. It is not an effective deterrent. If it were, there would be little to no crime in places like Saudi Arabia and China.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I've described 45's humanity below:

5 ( +6 / -1 )

From a NYTimes piece on Ms. Montgomery:

"Ms. Montgomery has bipolar disorder, temporal lobe epilepsy, complex post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociative disorder, psychosis, traumatic brain injury and most likely fetal alcohol syndrome... Ms. Shaughnessy so regularly covered her daughter’s mouth with duct tape to keep her quiet, Lisa learned not to cry.

> Lisa’s stepfather, Jack Kleiner, began to sexually assault her when she was around 13...Mr. Kleiner, who was a rampant alcoholic, would bring friends over to rape her, often for hours, often three at once. Ms. Shaughnessy also began to prostitute her daughter to offset bills for plumbing and electric work."

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/18/opinion/sunday/lisa-montgomery-execution.html

That NYTimes profile is almost impossible to read, the horror palpable. What Ms. Montgomery did was inexcusable, and she should spend the rest of her life in jail. But murdering a women who by all rights spent her days in an inconceivable nightmare is not justice.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

PTownsendToday  08:04 am JST

President Donald Trump, an ardent supporter of capital punishment, resumed federal executions following 17 years without one.

Another case of Trump having blood on his hands, to be added to those killed in his failed coup attempt, maintaining US involvement in wars for oil plus funding proxy wars.

Another case of Traitortrump trying to pose and look 'tuff'. Yet look at the abuses the ICE agents have been doing at the concentration camps, and what his Proud Boy thugs tried to do last week.

Donald Trump is the ultimate lowlife, the lowest of the low - and the things he's done are far worse and uglier than what this criminal murderess did (which was bad enough).

5 ( +8 / -3 )

A very vile crime by a woman who was badly abuse and raped has a child. I have opposed capital punishment for more than 50 years, and remain so.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

But he did show mercy. To those poor Blackwater guys.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

K3P0. Good point. Wikipedia listed 17 executed women. Is is something to do wirh a federal execution rather than state?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Am I reading the headline the right way?

Eileen Wuornos was executed in the 2000s.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This article unforgivably omits to record the years of horrific sexual abuse and violence she suffered as a girl, a crime that must be owned by American society, as must the heinous murder committed by a profoundly psychologically damaged woman. By carrying out this judicial killing the federal government once again abdicated its responsibilities which is not at all surprising since she did nothing to profit Potus, "Don the Merciless", to earn a grateful pardon from him while the "right-to-life" Pharisees of Scotus turned a deaf ear to the beatitude that all righteous people of good faith should heed:  “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

3 ( +5 / -2 )

What a grim story. With a dark start and equally dark end.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

For this type of cases, yes..but for the majority..it won't fix anything.

What did it “fix” in this case?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Reading the execution process in details is really disturbing, it seems to me to be as awful as her crime.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Her crimes, while horrific, would not have occured had she had anything resembling a normal childhood. Without excusing her actions, they have to be understood in context, and exacerbating circumstances considered in sentencing. Having been incarcerated, she was no longer a danger to society. Justice was not served by her execution by the state. This to me reeks of Trump's meglomania and bloodlust.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/05/lisa-montgomery-death-row-execution-history

Another history of lady's unthinkably bad childhood and youth...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes, this shows the craven bloodlust of Trump and his minions. For me the penny has dropped and I am now against capital punishment.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yes, this shows the craven bloodlust of Trump and his minions. For me the penny has dropped and I am now against capital punishment.

Hardly. Lethal injection isn't bloodlust. Trump has only asked the Federal jails to follow the laws put in place decades ago.

There's nothing stopping people with good arguments from getting the law changed. A poll in 2019 was the first one where a majority of Americans were in favor of life imprisonment instead of the death penalty. https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/news/gallup-poll-for-first-time-majority-of-americans-prefer-life-sentence-to-capital-punishment

106 countries have abolished the death penalty. There are about 200 countries in the world. BTW, Japan has the death penalty. A map of the world with death sentences carried out 2013-2018: https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/976/cpsprodpb/15754/production/_116029878_executions_2013_to_2019_640-nc.png

Excluding China, three countries were responsible for more than 80% of executions - Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran.

Estimates for China say over 1000 death penalties were performed from 2013-2018. That's compared to 22 for the USA.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not a huge fan of Trump but he is not to blame here, this vile woman needs to go. Waste thousands of dollars a year keeping her locked up or stick a needle in her arm. I favor the later but either way have NO sympathy for her whatsoever. Just stop with the “I had a bad childhood BS” So did many others. They didn’t cut babies from wombs!

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

President Donald Trump, an ardent supporter of capital punishment, resumed federal executions following 17 years without one.

Another case of Trump having blood on his hands, to be added to those killed in his failed coup attempt, maintaining US involvement in wars for oil plus funding proxy wars.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Murderers deserve the death penalty !!.. THE END

For this type of cases, yes..but for the majority..it won't fix anything..In the US though the annual execution numbers are dropping..the federal executions are few..high majority are state level executions.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Some humans are broke. It is what it is. There are broken people worldwide.

Vengeful justice would have been her receiving the same treatment as her victims.

Lethal injection was mercy.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Montgomery killed 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett in the northwest Missouri town of Skidmore in 2004. She used a rope to strangle Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, and then cut the baby girl from the womb with a kitchen knife. Montgomery took the child with her and attempted to pass the girl off as her own.

I read her story before.. She could not have more children and decided to kill another woman that meet on internet and steal her unborn baby from her womb.. She was not with mental problems, she knew what she was doing, her previous traumas were not a pretext to do what she did.. The lethal injection was a merciful punishment compared to the aberration she committed.. Do crimes and you will pay for it sooner or later.. Murderers deserve the death penalty !!.. THE END

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

President Donald Trump, an ardent supporter of capital punishment, resumed federal executions following 17 years without one.

In the same article..

The last woman executed by a state was Kelly Gissendaner, 47, on Sept. 30, 2015, in Georgia. She was convicted of murder in the 1997 slaying of her husband after she conspired with her lover, who stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death.

The narrative would have been better had the article omitted this..

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Her crimes, while horrific, would not have occured had she had anything resembling a normal childhood. Without excusing her actions, they have to be understood in context, and exacerbating circumstances considered in sentencing.

I sympathize with Montgomery’s harsh upbringing and the damage that caused to her life. If the stories about violent sexual assaults and rapes are true they are crimes that were themselves apparently left unpunished. Perhaps her perpetrators were also physically and sexually abused when they were children- many such offenders suffer the same crimes themselves.

A persons own victimization does not in any way justify or lessen the crimes they commit against others. This case is not one in which there is a question of whether or not she was guilty. I don’t like the idea of the death penalty in cases based on circumstantial evidence. Montgomery’s was not that type of prosecution. She planned this crime well in advance and it was horribly brutal in nature.

There can be no punishment other than the death penalty for first degree premeditated murder based on evidence that is more than just circumstantial. Anything else is not equal to the crime committed and cannot be considered justice. There is no perfect criminal justice system because no system created by man can be perfect. But that isn’t a reason to not try to bring about the best system possible to find justice commensurate to the crime.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

They kill one, we kill one. We are one.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

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