TERRE HAUTE, IND – Lisa Montgomery was executed by lethal injection at FCC Terre Haute early Wednesday morning. Her execution, originally scheduled for Tuesday, would eventually proceed following a day of ardent legal battle between the Justice Department and Montgomery’s attorneys.
The United States Supreme Court would end up ruling in the federal government’s favor in four legal cases, clearing the way for Montgomery’s execution.
Her sentence under the death penalty stems from a 2004 conviction for federal kidnapping resulting in death. Montgomery strangled 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett to death at her home in Skidmore, Missouri, cutting her unborn baby out of her stomach in an attempt to pass it off as her own. She arrived at the home under the guise of ‘Darlene Fischer’, a woman attempting to purchase a puppy.
The crime was documented in the book Baby Be Mine by Diane Fanning. Montgomery’s execution makes her the first woman to be federally executed in 67 years, the latest of numerous execution records for the Trump administration.
Montgomery’s family, as well as her legal team, say she suffered a lifetime of dysfunction, abuse, neglect, professional negligence, drug abuse, and untreated mental illness. Montgomery’s mother drank heavily while pregnant, causing her to be born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Her sister, Diane Mattingly, says their mother would subject Montgomery to cruel and unusual punishments such as taping her mouth shut, striking her with electrical cords, and pushing her into the snow naked. Montgomery was eventually trafficked for sex by her mother, gang-raped by relatives, and forced into a marriage to a sibling.
As a result of the long-term abuse, Montgomery was diagnosed with a myriad of mental illnesses including bipolar disorder, anxiety, PTSD, borderline personality disorder, and psychosis.
She was required to take a complicated mixture of psychotropic drugs in order to maintain a grip on reality. Various groups advocated on Montgomery’s behalf, including Mental Health America, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Her history of abuse combined with her list of diagnoses would have excluded her execution from being carried out under the eighth amendment.
One of Montgomery’s filings for a stay of execution was to schedule a competency hearing later in January, however, the Supreme Court chose to vacate it regardless. This is very likely due to President-Elect Joe Biden’s opposition to the death penalty. Montgomery wouldn’t have been executed during Biden’s upcoming term.
As Montgomery’s execution was underway, her legal team released a statement that read “The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight. Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should feel shame.”
“Because this administration was so afraid that the next one might choose Life over Death, they put the lives and health of US citizens in grave danger.” the statement concluded.
Montgomery was declared deceased at 1:31 A.M, EST.
She was the 11th inmate to be federally executed under Trump, and the third in a presidential lame-duck period.
SOURCE: BBC, DEATH PENALTY INFORMATION CENTER, BOP.GOV, NBC, ASSOCIATED PRESS