Lisa Montgomery, who strangled a Missouri woman in 2004 and stole her unborn baby, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at the US penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, on 8 December.
Montgomery, whose lawyers have long argued she has brain damage from beatings as a child and suffers from psychosis and other mental conditions, will become the first woman executed by the US government since Bonny Brown Heady in December 1953. Heady was convicted of kidnapping and killing the six-year-old heir of an automobile tycoon. With her boyfriend, she was executed in a gas chamber.
The attorney general, William Barr, announced the decision to proceed with the execution of Montgomery, 52, in a statement that also detailed a 10 December execution date for Brandon Bernard, 40, who with two accomplices was found guilty of the murder of two church ministers in Texas in 1999.
Barr said the crimes were “especially heinous murders”. Montgomery, who sliced open the belly of Bobby Jo Stinnett and took her daughter, is the only woman among 55 federal inmates awaiting execution, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
Under Barr, seven executions of federal prisoners have taken place since July. Before that, only three inmates had been executed since the restoration of the federal death penalty in 1998, the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and another in 2001, the other two years later.
In state prisons, 16 women have been executed since a 1976 supreme court decision lifted a moratorium on the death penalty across the US. The most recent was in September 2015, when Kelly Renee Gissendaner received a lethal injection in Georgia for the 1997 murder of her husband.
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SOURCE: The Guardian, Richard Luscombe