Execution of only woman on U.S. death row halted at 11th hour

Execution of only woman on U.S. death row halted at 11th hour”

Another federal judge in southwestern Indiana handed down the order on Montgomery less than 24 hours before the 52-year-old Montgomery, the only female on federal death row, was set to be executed at a federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana.

US judge James Patrick Hanlon granted a stay of execution to allow the court to conduct a hearing to determine whether Montgomery is competent to be executed on mental health grounds, according to a court filing made in the USA district court of Southern District of Indiana.

Ms Montgomery's lawyers, though, have argued that sexual abuse during Ms Montgomery's childhood led to mental illness. 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.

Trump, like his most conservative constituents, is a strong supporter of the death penalty and has ignored a plea for clemency from Montgomery's supporters.

She has auditory hallucinations, has expressed uncertainty about whether the child of the woman she killed was really her own, and has said that God speaks with her through connect-the-dot puzzles, according to court filings.

The prematurely born infant, Victoria Jo, survived and is now 16 years old.

Hanlon noted that Montgomery's guilty verdict and sentencing were upheld on both appeal and during post-proceeding relief hearings, and that the matter considered in the petition for a stay of execution only relates to whether Montgomery may be lawfully executed in her current mental state. She drove from Kansas to the pregnant woman's home in Skidmore, Missouri, then posed as a potential buyer of a puppy Stinnett was selling.

Any delay of Montgomery's execution beyond Biden's inauguration next Tuesday would likely mean she will not be executed since a Biden administration is expected to oppose carrying out of federal death sentences. Needing a baby before a fast-approaching court date, Montgomery turned her focus on Stinnett, whom she had met at dog shows.

At trial, prosecutors accused Montgomery of faking mental illness, noting that her killing of Stinnett was premeditated and included meticulous planning, including online research on how to perform a C-section.

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Her mother testified that she never filed a police complaint because he had threatened her and her children.

The jurors who heard the case, some crying through the gruesome testimony, disregarded the defense in convicting Montgomery of kidnapping resulting in death.

Lisa Montgomery's sister Diane Mattingly recently spoke to KCTV in Kansas City. A search of her computer showed she used it to research cesareans and order a birthing kit.

Her execution date was originally set for last December - but a stay was put in place after her attorneys contracted Covid-19.

It is one of three executions the U.S. Department of Justice had scheduled for the final full week of Republican President Donald Trump's administration.

US officials have portrayed the executions as bringing long-delayed justice for victims and their families.

But "it is also in the public interest to ensure that the government does not execute a prisoner who, due to her mental condition, "cannot appreciate the meaning of a community's judgment".

His administration executed 10 people previous year.

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