DOJ schedules first execution of female federal inmate in 6 decades

DOJ schedules first execution of female federal inmate in 6 decades

DOJ schedules first execution of female federal inmate in 6 decades

A woman convicted of fatally strangling a pregnant woman, cutting her body open and kidnapping her baby is scheduled to be the first female inmate put to death by the United States government in more than six decades, the Justice Department said Friday.

Montgomery, who was found guilty of strangling a pregnant woman in Missouri, will be executed by lethal injection at US Penitentiary Terre Haute, Indiana, the department said in a statement.

In 2007, a jury found Montgomery guilty of federal kidnapping resulting in death, and unanimously recommended a death sentence.

The death penalty is now banned in 21 U.S. states, with executions normally carried out by the states rather than the federal government. The last federal female inmate to be executed was Bonnie Heady after a kidnapping and murder incident in the early 1950s.

This came after the White House announced past year that the Bureau of Prisons was switching to a new single-drug protocol for lethal injections, from a three-drug combination that the bureau last used in March 2003 on a former soldier convicted of rape and murder.

Last year, the Trump administration said it would resume federal executions. The incident happened in December 2004 after Montgomery drove to Missouri, ostensibly to buy a puppy. When she arrived at the home, Montgomery used a rope to strangle Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, but Stinnett was conscious and trying to defend herself as Montgomery used a kitchen knife to cut the baby girl from the womb, authorities said. A struggle ensued, and Montgomery strangled Stinnett to death.

Prosecutors said Montgomery removed the baby from Ms Stinnett's body, took the child with her, and attempted to pass the girl off as her own.

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US Attorney General William Barr said the crimes were "especially heinous murders".

Her attorney, Kelley Henry, said that Montgomery deserved to live because she is mentally ill and suffered childhood abuse.

The two executions will be the eighth and ninth the federal government has carried out in 2020.

Certain crimes, such as counterfeiting currency or mail theft, are automatically tried at a federal level, as are cases in which the U.S. is a party or those which involve constitutional violations. Capital punishment by the USA federal government can be administered for treason, espionage, murder, and several other serious crimes.

The death penalty was outlawed at state and federal level by a 1972 Supreme Court decision that cancelled all existing death penalty statutes. Montgomery will be the first female executed by the federal government in almost seven decades.

Why the change in rules on executions?

The Trump administration ended an informal 17-year-hiatus in federal executions in July, after announcing last year that the Bureau of Prisons was switching to a new single-drug protocol for lethal injections, from a three-drug combination it last used in 2003.

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