Kansas City, Missouri 2021-01-13 00:26:36 –
Terre Haute, Indiana (AP) —The US Supreme Court paved the way for the Justice Department to execute the first execution of a female convict on death row almost 70 years after a flood of legal decisions.
The High Court ruled shortly after midnight Wednesday, allowing the Federal Bureau of Prisons to proceed with Lisa Montgomery’s execution.
Montgomery was convicted of killing 23-year-old Bobby Jostinet in Skidmore, a town in northwestern Missouri in 2004. She used a rope to strangle Stinet, who was eight months pregnant, and a kitchen knife to cut the baby girl from her womb. .. Montgomery took the child and tried to see the girl off as his own.
Her execution was due to another court suspending two other executions scheduled for later this week because the prisoner tested positive for COVID-19. Three executions were scheduled to be final next week before President-elect Joe Biden, an opponent of the federal death penalty, swears. It is currently unknown how many additional executions will be under President Donald Trump, who resumed federal executions in July after a 17-year hiatus. Since then, 10 federal prisoners have been sentenced to death.
Montgomery lawyers have long claimed that she was mentally ill and could not understand that she would be sentenced to death. Several courts issued injunctions, all of which were later lifted by the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court.
Separately, a federal judge in the District of Columbia suspended the executions of Corey Johnson and Dustin Higgs scheduled for later this week in a ruling on Tuesday. Johnson, who was convicted of killing seven people in connection with drug trafficking in Virginia, and Higgs, who was convicted of ordering the killing of three women in Maryland, were convicted last month at COVID. -19 was positive.
Any delays in executions scheduled this week beyond Biden’s inauguration next Tuesday should not happen immediately or ever, as the Biden administration is expected to oppose the execution of the federal death sentence. May mean.
One of Montgomery’s lawyers, Kelly Henry, arrived at the Associated Press on Tuesday morning, and her client arrived at the Terre Haute facility from a Texas prison late Monday night, as she had no facility for female prisoners. Is the execution room building itself.
“I don’t think she has a reasonable understanding of what’s going on,” Henry said.
Henry said Montgomery stabbed a needle in prison and made gloves, hats and other knit products as gifts for lawyers and others. She hasn’t been able to continue or read her hobby since she took off her glasses, worried she could kill her.
“When I detained her, she robbed me of all her coping mechanisms,” Henry said in October after being informed that there was an execution date.
As a child, Montgomery’s legal team said she suffered from “sexual torture,” including gang rape, permanently hurt her emotions and exacerbated the mental health problems that occurred to her family.
At the trial, prosecutors accused Montgomery of counterfeiting a mental illness, saying her Stinet’s killing was planned and included a detailed plan including an online investigation into how to perform a caesarean section.
Henry disagreed with the idea, citing extensive tests and brain scans that support the diagnosis of mental illness.
“You can’t do a fake brain scan that shows brain damage,” she said.
Henry said the central issue in the legal debate was not whether he knew that the killing was wrong in 2004, but whether he fully understood why he was being executed now. ..
Terre Haute’s U.S. District Court Judge James Patrick Hanlon cites a defense expert in his stay decision claiming that Montgomery suffers from depression, borderline personality disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Did.
According to the judge, Montgomery was also killed in a very rare condition called pseudopregnancy, where the false belief that a woman was pregnant causes hormonal and physical changes as if she were actually pregnant. Suffering from.
Montgomery also experienced delusions and hallucinations, believing that God spoke to her through a dot-to-dot puzzle, and the judge quoted a defense expert.
“The court records contain sufficient evidence that Montgomery’s current state of mind is divorced from reality and therefore cannot reasonably understand the grounds for the government’s execution,” the judge said. It was.
The government acknowledges Montgomery’s mental problems, but argues that she does not understand that she will be executed to kill others.
The details of the crime caused the jury to weep during the trial.
Prosecutors said jury Montgomery drove about 170 miles (274 km) from a farm in Melvern, Kansas to Skidmore, a town in northwestern Missouri, under the guise of adopting a Stinnet Rat Terrier puppy. Told. She strangled Stinet, made a crude caesarean section, and fled with her baby.
Prosecutors said Stinet tried to regain consciousness and protect himself when Montgomery used a kitchen knife to cut the baby girl out of her womb. Later that day, Montgomery called her husband to pick her up at the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant in Topeka, Kansas, and told her that she had given birth to a baby earlier in the day at a nearby birth center.
Montgomery was arrested the next day after showing off his premature baby Victoria Joe. Victoria Joe is now 16 and hasn’t spoken publicly about the tragedy.
Prosecutors reveal that Montgomery’s ex-husband was infertile because she knew she had undergone tubal ligation and was lying about her pregnancy to custody two of her four children. The prosecution said it was planned. Montgomery, who needed a baby before the upcoming court date, focused on Stinet, who he met at a dog show.
The anti-death penalty group said Trump was pushing for executions before the November elections in an ironic bid to hone his reputation as a leader in law and order.
The last woman executed by the federal government was Bonnie Brown Heddy, who kidnapped and killed a six-year-old boy in Missouri on December 18, 1953.
The last woman executed by the state was Kelly Gissendanner, 47, on September 30, 2015 in Georgia. She was convicted of murder for murdering her husband in 1997 after colluding with her lover who stabbed Douglas Gissendanner and killed her.
Hollingsworth reported from Kansas.
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