Speed Reads

Capital Punishment

U.S. carries out Trump's 11th federal execution, 1st female since 1953, after Supreme Court lifts stays

The Justice Department executed Lisa Montgomery, 52, by lethal injection early Wednesday, shortly after the Supreme Court lifted two stays from lower courts. She was pronounced dead at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, at 1:31 a.m. A federal judge in Indiana had halted her execution Monday night, citing the "ample evidence that Ms. Montgomery's current mental state is so divorced from reality that she cannot rationally understand the government's rationale for her execution." Montgomery was the first woman put to death in federal custody since 1953 and the 11th federal inmate executed since President Trump lifted a 17-year hiatus on capital punishment in July.

"The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight," Montgomery's attorney Kelley Henry said in a statement. "Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should feel shame."

A separate federal judge in Washington, D.C., issued stays Tuesday on two more federal executions scheduled for Thursday, citing positive COVID-19 tests for the inmates, Corey Johnson and Dustin Higgs. "The three executions were to be the last before President-elect Joe Biden, an opponent of the federal death penalty, is sworn-in next week," The Associated Press reports. "Delays of any of this week's scheduled executions beyond Biden's inauguration next Tuesday would likely mean they will not happen anytime soon, or ever."

Montgomery was convicted of the 2003 murder of 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett and abduction of her unborn child. Her lawyers say she is mentally ill after being subject to years of "sexual torture." Henry told AP on Tuesday morning that Montgomery was transferred to the Terre Haute prison Monday night, and "I don't believe she has any rational comprehension of what's going on at all." After the Bureau of Prisons took Montgomery's glasses away in October, out of concern she would kill herself, she had been unable to do needle-point or any of her other "coping mechanisms," Henry said.