13 January 2021 :
Lisa Montgomery was executed.
Montgomery, 52, White, was pronounced dead at 1:31 a.m. Wednesday after receiving a lethal injection at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. She was the 11th prisoner to receive a lethal injection there since July when President Donald Trump, an ardent supporter of capital punishment, resumed federal executions following 17 years without one.
It came after hours of legal wrangling before the Supreme Court cleared the way for the execution to move forward. Montgomery was the first of the final three federal inmates scheduled to die before next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, who is expected to discontinue federal executions.
An appeals court granted Montgomery a stay of execution Tuesday, shortly after another appeals court lifted an Indiana judge’s ruling that found she was likely mentally ill and couldn’t comprehend she would be put to death. But both appeals were lifted, allowing the execution of the only female on federal death row to go forward.
As the execution process began, a woman standing over Montgomery’s shoulder leaned over, gently removed Montgomery’s face mask and asked her if she had any last words. “No,” Montgomery responded in a quiet, muffled voice. She said nothing else.
Kelley Henry, Montgomery's federal public defender, expressed her disappointment in the day's events, saying the federal government violated the Constitution, federal law and its own regulation to put her client to death.
“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 in a statement provided to IndyStar of the USA TODAY Network after midnight.
Two other executions set for later this week also were halted because the inmates tested positive for COVID-19. The executions were to be the last before President-elect Joe Biden, an opponent of the federal death penalty, is sworn-in next week.
A federal judge for the U.S. District of Columbia halted the scheduled executions later this week of Corey Johnson and Dustin Higgs in a ruling Tuesday. Johnson, convicted of killing seven people related to his drug trafficking in Virginia, and Higgs, convicted of ordering the murders of three women in Maryland, both tested positive for COVID-19 last month.
The last woman executed by the federal government was Bonnie Brown Heady on Dec. 18, 1953, for the kidnapping and murder of a 6-year-old boy in Missouri.
The last woman executed by a state was Kelly Gissendaner, 47, on Sept. 30, 2015, in Georgia. She was convicted of murder in the 1997 slaying of her husband after she conspired with her lover, who stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death.
Lisa Montgomery becomes the 11th person executed since last year by the federal system, the 14th executed by the federal government since it resumed executions in 2001, the 1st person executed this year in the United States, and the No. 1,529 since the United States reintroduced the death penalty in 1976 and resumed executions in 1977. Montgomery is the 4th inmate in 130 years to be executed during the transition period between two presidents, when, by custom, the outgoing government only handles routine business or, on the contrary, particular emergencies.