Federal death row inmate Lisa Montgomery was executed in Terre Haute, Indiana, early Wednesday morning. She became the first woman on death row to be executed since 1953. Montgomery was charged in 2008 with the strangulation of a pregnant Missouri woman and with cutting and removing the child from her body.
Attorneys for Montgomery made numerous recent attempts to stay the execution, arguing that: the execution date violated the Federal Death Penalty Act because it did not comply with Missouri state law, which requires a 90-day notice; the 2008 conviction contained a stay provision that was never lifted; Montgomery may be ineligible for the death penalty due to mental illness and psychological disturbance; and the Justice Department violated federal regulations when scheduling her execution. The Supreme Court issued three late-night orders on Tuesday granting Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall vacatur on the stays, thereby paving the way for Montgomery’s execution.
After being delayed due to contracting COVID-19 while visiting Montgomery in prison, her attorneys also unsuccessfully appealed for clemency. Since July, 11 federal executions have been carried out after President Donald Trump ended a 17-year moratorium.
Montgomery’s attorney Kelley Henry, stated, “we should recognize Lisa Montgomery’s execution for what it was: the vicious, unlawful and unnecessary exercise of authoritarian power. We cannot let this happen again.”