She was the first woman to be put to death by the federal government since 1953 and had been the only woman on federal death row.
Lisa M. Montgomery, 52, was the only woman on federal death row.Credit…Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery, via Associated Press
- Jan. 13, 2021Updated 2:51 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration early Wednesday morning executed Lisa M. Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row, whose death marked the first federal execution of a woman in nearly 70 years.
Ms. Montgomery, 52, was sentenced to death for murdering a pregnant woman in 2004 and abducting the unborn child, whom she claimed as her own. In pleas to spare her life, Ms. Montgomery’s supporters argued that a history of trauma and sexual abuse that marred her life contributed to the circumstances that led to the crime. Her case, unusual in part because so few women are sentenced to death, ignited debate over the role of offenders’ past trauma in criminal sentencing.
Despite a series of court orders that briefly blocked her execution, she was pronounced dead at 1:31 a.m. at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Ind., the Bureau of Prisons said in a statement. Her death, by lethal injection, is the 11th execution since the Trump administration resumed use of federal capital punishment in July after a 17-year hiatus.
According to a spokesperson for the defense team, Ms. Montgomery was transported, fully shackled, from a federal medical center in Texas to Terre Haute on Monday night. The federal penitentiary where the vast majority of federal death row prisoners are housed is an all-male facility, and an official said in a court declaration that the Bureau of Prisons planned to house Ms. Montgomery at the execution facility, where she would be the only inmate.