The U.S. Court of Appeals has cleared the way for the execution of the only woman on the federal death penalty before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
U.S. for the Columbia Circuit District. A three-judge panel of the appellate court on Friday ruled that a lower court judge had erred in clearing the execution date of Lisa Montgomery in an order last week.
U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss illegally ordered Montgomery’s execution to the Justice Department and quashed the order of the director of the prison’s office confirming his death on January 12.
In December, Montgomery was scheduled to be killed by a lethal injection at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terra Hatte, Indiana, but Moss delayed the execution after his lawyers visited his client and contracted the coronavirus, prompting him to file an offense. Application
Moss concluded that under his order, the prison office would not be able to commute Montgomery’s death sentence until at least January 1. But the appeals panel disagreed.
Montgomery’s lawyer, Meghan Vargo, said her legal team would ask the full appellate court to review the case and said Montgomery should not be hanged on Jan. 12.
Montgomery was convicted in December 2004 of murdering Bobby Joe Steinett, 23, in northwestern Missouri, Skidmore.
She used a rope to strangle an eight-month-pregnant stint, and then cut the baby’s uterus with a kitchen knife, officials said. Montgomery took the child with him and tried to pass the girl on his own, the prosecution said.
Montgomery’s legal team has argued he has serious mental illnesses. One of her lawyers, Sandra B. Beck, said in an earlier statement: “We appeal to Mrs. Trump for her mental illness, the sexual and physical abuse she has suffered throughout her life, and the connection between her trauma and the facts of her crime. To commute the sentence to life imprisonment.
Biden opposes the death penalty and his spokesman T.J. Daklo has said he will work to end its use. But he did not say whether he would suspend federal executions after Biden took office on January 20.