The first federal execution of a woman in the United States in nearly 70 years will take place in December, the US Department of Justice reported. Lisa Montgomery, sentenced 16 years ago for the murder of a pregnant woman and the kidnapping of her child, is to get a poison injection.
Lisa Montgomery, 52, is scheduled to be executed on December 8 at Terre Haute Federal Prison, Indiana. The last woman to be served the federal death penalty in the US was Bonnie Heady, convicted of the kidnapping and murder of a six-year-old boy. She was executed in a Missouria gas chamber in 1953.
The Justice Department also announced that Brandon Bernard, who in 1999, together with his associates, murdered two young altar boys will be executed on December 10.
To date, the U.S. government has carried out seven death sentences in 2020. President Donald Trump’s administration ordered in July to resume executions of federal convicts after a 17-year hiatus.
Murder of Bobbie Jo Stinnett
Lisa Montgomery’s crime occurred on December 16, 2004 in Skidmore, Missouri. The woman tricked into the home of 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant at the time, allegedly to buy a puppy from her.
Once inside, the 36-year-old attacked Stinnett, choking her until she passed out. Then, with the help of a kitchen knife, she cut open the belly of the pregnant woman, who regained consciousness for a moment. A fight ensued, during which Montgomery strangled Stinnett. Then she took her child out of the belly and took it with her. The victim’s mother found the body lying in a pool of blood an hour later.
The murderer was arrested a day later at the family farm in Melvern, Kansas. The police found a newborn child who miraculously survived. The 36-year-old claimed to have given birth to him herself, even though she underwent tubal ligation in 1990. After the DNA tests were carried out, the child was taken into the care of the father.
In 2007, a jury found Lisa Montgomery guilty of kidnapping and murder, unanimously condemning her to death.
“Lisa Montgomery has long accepted full responsibility for her crime and will never be released from prison, but her severe mental illness and the devastating effects of her childhood trauma make her execution a profound injustice,” said Kelley Henry’s lawyer. Montgomery grew up in a pathological family. As a little girl, she was raped by her stepfather.
Federal death penalty reintroduced
On July 14, the US Supreme Court allowed federal executions to resume after a 17-year hiatus, annulling the postponement of four executions. On the same day was executed by lethal injection, also in Terre Haute, Daniel Lee, convicted of multiple murder.
Court disputes over the admissibility of poison injection resulted in the suspension of federal death sentences in 2003. There are currently over 50 inmates in federal death row.
Main photo source: WYANDOTTE COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPAR/PAP