Only Woman On US Federal Death Row To Be Executed January 12
Montgomery’s execution ruling, handed down on Friday by a three-judge panel on the US court of appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, concluded that a lower court judge erred when he vacated Montgomery’s execution date in an order last week.
A member of the panel, US district court judge Randolph Moss ruled that the justice department unlawfully rescheduled Montgomery’s execution and he vacated an order from the director of the bureau of prisons scheduling her death for January 12.
Montgomery was initially been scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection at federal correctional complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, in December, but Moss delayed the execution after her attorneys contracted coronavirus and asked him to extend the time to file a clemency petition.
She was found guilty of federal kidnapping resulting in death and sentenced to death in 2007 for strangling a 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett to death.
Montgomery was convicted of killing Stinnett in the north-west Missouri town of Skidmore in December 2004.
She used a rope to strangle Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, and then cut the baby girl from the womb with a kitchen knife, authorities said.
Montgomery took the child with her and attempted to pass the girl off as her own, prosecutors said.
In 2007, a jury found Montgomery guilty of federal kidnapping resulting in death, and unanimously recommended a death sentence.
Her legal team are expected to file an appeal by Saturday, according to Fox News.
Meaghan VerGow, an attorney for Montgomery, said her legal team would ask for the full appeals court to review the case and said Montgomery should not be executed on January 12.
Her lawyers have argued that their client suffers from serious mental illnesses from beatings as a child and is mentally unwell, so should not face the death penalty.
One of her lawyers, Sandra Babcock said in an earlier statement;
Given the severity of Mrs Montgomery’s mental illness, the sexual and physical torture she endured throughout her life, and the connection between her trauma and the facts of her crime, we appeal to President Trump to grant her mercy and commute her sentence to life imprisonment.
The last woman to be executed by the US government was Bonnie Heady, who died in a gas chamber in Missouri in 1953, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
Federal executions had been on pause for 17 years before President Donald Trump ordered them to resume earlier last year.