The US government on Wednesday executed convicted murderer Lisa Montgomery, 52, the only woman sentenced to death and the first prisoner sentenced to death since 1953.
After a lawsuit in which Montgomery’s defense sought an overturn of the sentence on the grounds that she suffered from a mental illness, the United States Supreme Court decided to set aside the stay of execution granted by lower levels of US courts.
The woman was killed at 1:31 a.m. (3:31 a.m. in Brasilia), after receiving a lethal injection of pentobarbital in the execution chamber of the Department of Justice of a prison in the city of Terre Haute, Indiana.
Montgomery was convicted in 2007 of kidnapping and murdering a pregnant woman three years earlier to steal the fetus. Before committing the crime, she told other people, including her husband, that she was pregnant while being barren at the time, the Justice Department told the court.
Using the code name Darlene Fischer, she contacted dog breeder Bobbie Jo Stinnett, 23, who was eight months pregnant at the time, and said she was interested in purchasing a puppy. When Montgomery went to the kennel, he strangled Stinnett, extracted the fetus, and ran away with him. The child survived.
Montgomery was persuaded by investigators to admit her guilt for the crime, but they said she never showed regret. Stinnett’s family came to watch the execution. When asked if she wanted to say a final word before receiving the lethal injection, Montgomery replied in a low, muffled voice, “No,” according to a reporter who testified to the execution.
For Montgomery’s lawyer Kelley Henry, serving the death sentence was “a vicious, illegal and unnecessary exercise of authoritarian power.” In previous decisions, the Supreme Court has ruled that the execution of a person classified as insane was unconstitutional.
“No one can credibly dispute Ms. Montgomery’s debilitating mental illness – first diagnosed and treated by the Bureau of Prisons’ own doctors. [órgão federal que administra o sistema penitenciário americano]”Henry said in a statement.
The defense sought leniency from President Donald Trump last week, claiming she committed the crime after a childhood in which she was repeatedly abused and raped by her stepfather and friends. The lawyers did not dispute the guilt, but requested that the sentence be overturned to life imprisonment.
The defense argued that the president had “the power to send a message to thousands of women victims of rape and child trafficking, showing that their pain matters, that they matter, that their lives are worth “.
Entities like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have also opposed the government’s plans to execute Montgomery, saying the convict’s life was “marked by unthinkable trauma that resulted in documented brain damage and mental illness.” .
According to reports from family and Montgomery’s lawyers, she was exposed, from early childhood, to recurrent corporal punishment and sexual abuse. A clinical psychologist said in a court statement filed by the defense team that Montgomery’s mother demanded that she “pay the bills” by having sex with technicians, plumbers and other laborers. ‘interview.
Federal executions were suspended for 17 years and only three men have been executed by the government since 1963, until the practice resumed last year under the Trump administration, whose declared support for the death penalty predates when he entered politics.
Montgomery was the first person to be executed this year and the 11th in the Trump administration. The other ten convicted last year caused the federal government, for the first time, to carry out more executions than all 50 U.S. states combined, according to data compiled by the Death Penalty Information Center. Three more sentences are expected to be served before the end of Trump’s tenure – who will leave the White House on the 20th.
A federal judge in Washington has however postponed, at least for now, two executions that were scheduled for Thursday (14) and Friday (15) to allow the two convicted murderers to recover from Covid-19.
Corey Johnson, 52, was convicted of murdering seven people in Virginia in 1992 while part of a drug trafficking ring. Dustin Higgs, 48, was convicted of complicity in the kidnapping and murder of three women in Maryland in 1996.