WASHINGTON – The United States Department of Justice said Friday it had scheduled the first federal execution of a woman in nearly 70 years, setting a December 8 date to execute Lisa Montgomery, who was convicted of a 2004 murder.
Montgomery, who has been found guilty of strangling a pregnant woman in Missouri, will be executed by lethal injection at US prison Terre Haute in Indiana, the department said in a statement.
The last woman to be executed by the US government was Bonnie Heady, who was executed in a gas chamber in Missouri in 1953, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
The Justice Department also scheduled a December 1
The two executions will be the eighth and ninth that the federal government carried out in 2020.
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 used. the last time in 2003.
The new protocol has revived the long-standing legal challenges to lethal injections. In August, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled that the Department of Justice was in violation of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by not requiring a doctor’s prescription to administer the highly regulated barbiturate.
But an appeals court found that the violation did not in itself constitute “irreparable damage” and allowed federal executions to continue.
In 2007, a United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri sentenced Montgomery to death after finding her guilty of a federal kidnapping that led to her death.
Her attorney, Kelley Henry, said Montgomery deserves to live because she is mentally ill and abused in childhood.
“Lisa Montgomery has long since accepted full responsibility for her crime and will never leave prison,” Henry said in a statement. “But her severe mental illness and the devastating impacts of her childhood trauma make her execution a profound injustice.”
Bernard’s attorney, Robert Owen, said in a statement that the federal government misled the United States District Court jury for the Western District of Texas, which in 2000 found Bernard guilty of murder. His decision was marred by false testimony, Owen said.
“This evidence confirms that Mr. Bernard is not simply one of the ‘worst of the worst’ offenders for whom we reserve the death penalty, and that saving his life would pose no risk to anyone,” Owen said.