US executes Lisa Montgomery, the only female on federal death row

Catriona Harvey-Jenner
·3-min read
Photo credit: Twitter - Getty Images
Photo credit: Twitter - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

Warning: This article contains descriptions of a very graphic crime, which some readers may find disturbing

Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on US federal death row, has been executed in Indiana. She had been on death row for 13 years, after being sentenced to the death penalty in 2007 for the murder of pregnant woman Bobbie Jo Stinnett in 2004.

52-year-old Montgomery (pictured above) was initially granted a last-minute stay of execution to prevent her death, but the US Supreme Court went on to lift this and she was given the lethal injection in the early hours of this morning (13 January). Montgomery was pronounced dead at 01:31 local time (06:31 GMT).

She is the 11th prisoner to have been executed by the US Federal Government since President Donald Trump authorised the reintroduction of federal executions in July 2020. Four prisoners - Lisa Montgomery, Orlando Hall, Brandon Bernard, and Alfred Bourgeois - have all been killed by the government since Trump lost the election on 3 November 2020.

Lisa Montgomery was guilty of killing 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett after befriending her online and bonding over a shared love of dogs. After learning that Stinnett was eight months pregnant, Montgomery posed as a potential dog buyer, and drove to her victim's house in Skidmore, Missouri. There, she strangled the expectant mother, before cutting the baby out of her womb. The killer fled with the newborn, and left Bobbie Jo Stinnett to bleed to death.

When police tracked down Lisa Montgomery, they found her cradling a baby girl she claimed to have given birth to the day before. Her story was quickly proven to be lies, and she went on to confess to the horrific killing. The baby was rescued and given back to her dad, Zeb Stinnett, who is believed to have raised her alongside his and Bobbie Jo's families.

The execution of Lisa Montgomery has received lots of attention in recent months, as her killing was postponed twice. Her lawyers argued that she was mentally ill, had suffered serious abuse as a child, and was in a psychotic state at the time of the murder. Growing up, it's reported Montgomery was frequently sexually and physically abused by her dad, and trafficked by her mother.

On Monday, a judge in Indiana ordered a delay in the execution until a mental competency hearing could be carried out to investigate Montgomery's mental state. However, the US Supreme Court overruled this and the death penalty went ahead.

The BBC reports Bobbie Jo Stinnett's family are of the belief that "the murder committed by Montgomery was so horrific that she deserved to be put to death regardless of her mental health."

Incoming president Joe Biden, who will take office in one week from today (January 20), has pledged to try to abolish the death penalty altogether in the United States.

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