AP Debrief: US executes 1st woman since 1953
A Kansas woman was executed 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. (Jan. 13)
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 executed at the facility 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. A woman standing over her shoulder leaned over, gently removed Montgomery’s face mask and asked if she had any last words.
“No,” Montgomery responded in a quiet, muffled voice. She said nothing else.
The family of Bobbie Jo Stinnett, the 23-year-old Montgomery killed in the northwest Missouri town of Skidmore in 2004, declined to comment on the execution, prison officials said.
Her execution 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.
In a separate ruling Tuesday, which the government can still seek to overturn, another federal judge halted the scheduled executions later this week of Corey Johnson and Dustin Higgs after both tested positive for COVID-19 last month.
The men’s attorneys argued lung damage caused by the coronavirus made it more likely that the lethal injection would cause them severe pain. If they aren’t executed before Biden becomes president, they may never be put to death.
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