Lisa Montgomery Becomes First Woman To Be Executed In US Since 1953
Lisa Montgomery has become the first woman to be executed in the US since 1953.
Although a series of court orders briefly blocked Montgomery’s execution, the Bureau of Prisons has now announced that she has died by lethal injection.
Montgomery was pronounced dead at 1.31am at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, after the US Supreme Court lifted a last-minute stay of execution.
Montgomery’s execution was initially halted by a judge in Indiana, on the grounds of needing to determine her mental competence.
She had been due to die by lethal injection on January 12, 17 years after she murdered 23-year-old pregnant woman Bobbie Jo Stinnett in Missouri.
After cutting the unborn baby from Bobbie Jo’s womb, Montgomery had attempted to pass it off as her own. Bobbie Jo bled to death following the attack.
Judge Patrick Hanlon granted the stay late on January 11, citing that an assessment should be carried out to determine Montgomery’s mental competence.
Her legal team had argued that she was too mentally ill to face execution. Born with brain damage, Montgomery suffered sexual and physical abuse at the hands of her father as a child, and had also been trafficked by her mother.
In a piece for Elle published in November, Montgomery’s half-sister Diane Mattingly wrote:
I will always love her, but what she did was the most awful thing a person can do. Lisa should spend the rest of her life in prison, no doubt, but she shouldn’t have to die. Because maybe if she hadn’t been failed by the people she needed most in society, she could have been part of it.
Her lawyers believe that Montgomery had been psychotic and out of touch with reality at the time of her crime, an opinion that is supported by 41 current and former lawyers as well as human rights groups such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
However, Bobbie Jo’s loved ones say the murder was so horrific that Montgomery deserved to be executed regardless of the state of her mental health.
As reported by BBC News, Montgomery’s lawyer, Kelley Henry, has stated that everyone who had participated in putting her to death ‘should feel shame’:
The government stopped at nothing in its zeal to kill this damaged and delusional woman. Lisa Montgomery’s execution was far from justice.
A witness who had been standing beside Montgomery during her execution process reportedly removed her face mask to ask if she had any last words. Montgomery responded, ‘No,’ and did not proceed to say anything else.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 between 12pm–2.30pm and 7pm– 9.30pm every day. Alternatively, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas.
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on their website or on their free helpline 0808 800 5005, open 9am–5pm Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays; 8am–8pm Tuesdays and Thursdays; 10am–2pm Saturdays.
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