Before leaving the presidency of U.S, Donald trump he made sure to break long-standing records and traditions: he promoted executions in the process of handover, something that had not been done for 130 years; He is the US president who oversaw the largest number of executions in more than a century, and under his leadership in the country, a woman was executed for the first time in seven decades.
« Lisa montgomery, 52, was executed in the federal penitentiary of Terre Haute, of the state of Indiana, at 1:31 « , announced in a statement the Department of Justice. Although yesterday a federal court had suspended the order, the decision lasted only a few hours and finally the Supreme Court He raised her, so the death of the condemned was carried forward.
In this way, Montgomery, that she was the only woman on « death row » waiting for the lethal injection, became the first executed by the US Justice in 67 years for having murdered a pregnant woman with the aim of stealing her fetus.
The woman received a lethal injection « in accordance with the capital punishment unanimously recommended by a federal jury and imposed by the United States District Court » of Missouri, the Justice Department said.
Lisa Montgomery’s crime and why they asked to review her death sentence
In 2004, Montgomery, unable to have a new child, identified his victim through the Internet, Bobbie Jo Stinnett, a dog breeder. Then, he came to her home in Missouri with the excuse of buying her a terrier.
But it was only a strategy: upon meeting her, he strangled her, opened her uterus, took the baby – who survived – and left the 23-year-old in a pool of blood.
The Supreme Court rejected the latest appeals filed by the woman’s lawyers, despite the disagreement of its three progressive justices.
According to his advocates, Montgomery suffers from severe mental disorders as a result of the assaults and gang rapes she suffered as a child. In order to carry out a federal execution, it is an essential condition that the convicted person understand the meaning of her sentence, but they argue that, due to the mental consequences she had from her childhood, she was unable to understand it.
Federal Judge James Hanlon had on Monday ordered a stay of the execution at the request of the defense, but the Justice Department appealed and an appeals court overturned the ruling yesterday, which allowed to continue with the death penalty.
« The current mental state of mrs. Montgomery is so detached from reality that he cannot rationally understand the government’s motive for executing it« wrote Judge Hanlon, adding that » stay of execution is granted to allow the court to hold a hearing to determine the ability of mrs. Montgomery to be executed. «
Trump, a staunch supporter of the death penalty, ignored a clemency petition filed by Montgomery supporters.
Trump breaks death penalty records and rushes executions before leaving office
In 2019, Donald Trump resumed death penalty executions after 17 years in which they were suspended. Since July 2020, 13 lethal injection convictions have been issued. With several of them scheduled and carried out since December, hurried by his administration before handing over power to Joe biden on January 20, it became the president who oversaw the most federal executions during his tenure in more than a century.
On December 10, in fact, he broke another record: Brandon Bernard, 40, the youngest inmate to face the death penalty, was executed. He had been convicted of murder when he was 18 and campaigns had been launched for his clemency. His death was the first of five scheduled before the end of the Trump administration.
Brandon Bernard, the youngest executed in 70 years
In addition to Montgomery, the Trump administration plans to execute two African-Americans this week: Corey Johnson tomorrow and Dustin Higgs on Friday. In these cases there is also uncertainty after the decision of a federal court to block their executions: the two sentenced to death recently contracted coronavirus, and the lethal injection could cause them illegal suffering, the judges considered.
Former Terre Haute prison guards, for their part, wrote to the acting Secretary of Justice, Jeffrey Rosen, asking him to postpone these executions « until prison staff are vaccinated against Covid-19. »
An execution requires dozens of people to remain in a closed environment, an environment conducive to the spread of the virus, and for this reason, the states suspended executions for months. The Trump administration did the opposite and was in favor of proceed with executions as quickly as possible before leaving power.
« In the final hours of the Trump presidency, there is a race to execute people who were on death row for years or even decades. It’s crazy, « Democratic Senator Dick Durbin reported on NPR radio this week, announcing the presentation of a bill to stop federal executions again.
After the Democrats retake control of the Senate, that text may be adopted after the arrival in the White House of Joe Biden, who opposes capital punishment and takes office on January 20.