Lisa Montgomery’s execution was a final dark act in the Trump administration saga
The administration will leave power having executed the first woman in the U.S. since 1953.
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After a stay of execution was granted by a federal judge earlier in the week, the Trump administration went forward and executed 52-year-old Lisa Montgomery, at 1:31 a.m on the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 13, ending the life of the only woman on federal death row.
Her stay of execution was shot down earlier in the day by the Supreme Court.
Montgomery is now the first woman to be executed by the federal government since 1953.
The government killed Montgomery through a lethal injection of pentobarbital, despite objections from her lawyers that she was not mentally competent enough for execution.
Montgomery, who was convicted for murder and fetal abduction in 2004, has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder with psychotic features and complex post-traumatic stress disorder. She was also born with brain damage, due to her mother drinking heavily during pregnancy.
Experts who evaluated her stated that Montgomery, like many victims of childhood trauma, began to dissociate from her reality in order to cope.
Montgomery suffered more cruelty than any person ever should, and it came at the hands of her caretakers. According to reports from her family members, her mother physically abused her and withheld all forms of affection. Her stepfather began molesting her at the tender age of 11.
Even though Montgomery’s mother witnessed her husband abusing her daughter, she did not report it to the authorities. Montgomery told a cousin at the time that her parents were trafficking her in exchange for work done around the house.
Lisa Montgomery’s father built a detached room to facilitate rape without interruption. Lisa’s mother sold sexual access to her daughter in exchange for plumbing work. Lisa eventually experienced a psychotic break and committed a horrible crime. She is not competent.— Sister Helen Prejean (@helenprejean) January 13, 2021
In his ruling on a stay of execution, U.S District Judge James Patrick Hanlon wrote that Montgomery was suffering from an extremely rare condition known as pseudocyesis. This condition occurs when a woman’s false belief that she is pregnant triggers hormonal and physical changes as if she were really pregnant.
Prosecutors asserted that her motive was part of a plan to gain custody of her four children from her ex-husband, who knew that she underwent sterilization and planned to reveal her pregnancy lie.
In efforts to convict her, prosecutors believe that she turned her focus on Bobbie Jo Stinnett, a friend she met through dog shows, who was eight months pregnant at the time.
Regardless of the possible motive, Montgomery was not in her right mind at the time of the crime. Her lawyers maintain that their client murdered Stinnett during a psychotic episode. Since her arrest, Montgomery had been medicated and received psychiatric care at a Texas prison for women with special mental health needs.
According to her lawyers, in the days leading up to her execution, Montgomery was having auditory hallucinations of her abusive mother’s voice, and believed that God was speaking with her through “connect-the-dot puzzles.”
Montgomery’s attorneys fought well into Tuesday night, asking for more time for the courts to evaluate their client’s mental state. By midnight, there was only one stay from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals keeping Montgomery alive.
The Trump administration fought back and successfully overturned appeals until finally the Supreme Court allowed the Justice Department to move forward with the execution.
The US Supreme Court decision was 6-3 in favor of Lisa Montgomery’s execution tonight.— Adnan Khan (@akhan1437) January 13, 2021
Remember we’re talking about Justice Ginsburg’s “pro-life” replacement Amy Coney Barrett, and Clarence Thomas—who’s wife Ginni Thomas allegedly funded 80+ buses to the Capitol attacks.
One of Montgomery’s attorneys, Kelley Henry, expressed her dismay in a statement via Death Penalty Worldwide.
“The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight. Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should feel shame,” she said.
“We should recognize Lisa Montgomery’s execution for what it was: the vicious, unlawful, and unnecessary exercise of authoritarian power. We cannot let this happen again.” -Kelley Henry, attorney for #LisaMontgomery— #SurvivedAndPunished (@COLBYLENZ) January 13, 2021
Montgomery’s final days of life were no less tragic than the abuse she suffered in childhood.
Through the assistance of mental health professionals in the Texas prison, she was able to express remorse for her crime, and spent her time making needle-point gloves and hats as gifts for her lawyers.
But when she was informed of her execution date, she hasn’t been able to continue that hobby or even read since her glasses were taken away from her out of concern that she would attempt suicide.
“All of her coping mechanisms were taken away from her when they locked her down,” Henry said.
In what her lawyers have called a final insult, the government refused Montgomery the chance to receive a final prayer from her spiritual advisor, Assemblies of God pastor John Francisco. He was not even permitted to stand with her in the execution chamber.
This is the full statement released earlier by Henry. "Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should feel shame." pic.twitter.com/0YjMoxMBqu— Liliana Segura (@LilianaSegura) January 13, 2021
The execution of this damaged and delusional woman did not achieve anything besides more senseless violence.
“The government stopped at nothing in its zeal to kill this damaged and delusional woman,” Henry said. “Lisa Montgomery’s execution was far from justice.”