Early Wednesday, the Trump administration executed the only woman on federal death row, Lisa M. Montgomery, age 52. She was the first woman put to death in almost 70 years, according to The New York Times, the last two being Bonnie Brown Heady for kidnapping and murder and Ethel Rosenberg for espionage in 1953.
Montgomery was convicted in 2007 for murdering a pregnant woman and kidnapping her unborn child, who survived the attack. Montgomery feigned pregnancy to friends and family in 2004 and then contacted Bobbie Jo Stinnett — who was actually pregnant — saying she wanted to purchase a dog from the woman. Instead, she strangled Stinnett to death and cut the child from her stomach. Montgomery confessed to the crime soon after.
When news hit earlier this year that Montgomery was scheduled to be executed, assistant federal public defender Kelley Henry spoke out in support of his client, who opined that “her severe mental illness and the devastating impacts of her childhood trauma make executing her a profound injustice,” according to the Times. Montgomery was allegedly sex-trafficked by her mother as a child and gang-raped by several adult men.
Montgomery was scheduled to be executed on December 8th, but a series of court orders briefly blocked the execution. She was pronounced dead at 1:31 a.m. at a federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, on Wednesday, January 13th after a lethal injection.
The Trump administration resumed federal capital punishment in July of 2019 after 17 years of no executions; Montgomery was the 11th execution to be carried out since. In November, Kim Kardashian pushed for the administration to stop the execution of Brandon Bernard, who killed two youth ministers when he was 18 and spent 20 years on death row. Despite the celebrity’s endorsement, Bernard was executed in December.
According to NPR, President-elect Joe Biden plans to work with Congress to eliminate the death penalty at the federal level.