Lisa Montgomery ‘throbbed’ during execution and ‘licked her lips’ as lethal injection pumped through bodyJanuary 13, 2021
THE "womb raider" killer Lisa Montgomery "throbbed" during her execution and "licked her lips" as the lethal injection was pumped through her body.
The 52-year-old – who was convicted of killing a pregnant woman and carving out her child – was pronounced dead at 1.31am, after receiving a lethal injection at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana.
However, her lawyer, Kelley Henry, said that Montgomery was "denied a prayer with her spiritual adviser" prior to her death.
Montgomery wanted her Assemblies of God pastor John Francisco to stand with her in the execution chamber.
"It was a needless indignity and a deprivation of really her basic humanity," said Amy Harwell, another one of Montgomery’s lawyers, said.
"He could have provided comfort and a prayer."
Montgomery was reportedly asked if she had any last words before her execution, but replied "no," according to an AP journalist.
She tapped her fingers nervously for several seconds, a heart-shaped tattoo on her thumb, showed no signs of distress, and quickly closed her eyes, the outlet reported.
As the lethal injection began, Montgomery kept licking her lips and gasped briefly as pentobarbital, a lethal drug, entered her body through IVs on both arms.
A few minutes later, her midsection throbbed for a moment, but quickly stopped.
She became the first woman federal prisoner to be executed in 67 years after she was convicted of the horrific murder of 23-year-old dog breeder Bobbie Jo Stinnett, in 2004.
She used a rope to strangle the eight months pregnant Stinnett, then cut her baby girl from the womb with a kitchen knife. Montgomery then attempted to pass off the baby as her own.
As curtain was raised in the execution chamber, Montgomery looked momentarily bewildered as she glanced at journalists peering at her from behind thick glass.
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 and said nothing else.
She tapped her fingers nervously for several seconds, a heart-shaped tattoo on her thumb, but she otherwise showed no signs of distress, and quickly closed her eyes.
Montgomery’s attorney, Kelley Henry slammed the execution of her client who had "a longstanding debilitating mental disease".
“The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight,” said Henry.
“Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should feel shame.”
She was originally due to be executed at 6pm on Tuesday.
Earlier this week her lawyers launched an 11th hour bid to prevent her execution, arguing she was brain damaged, severely mentally ill and has suffered a lifetime of sexual abuse.
They told a court she was allegedly raped by her stepdad and his friends in a specially built room when she was just 11.
In a nearly 7,000-page clemency petition filed last week, they asked the president to commute Montgomery’s sentence to life in prison.
It appeared they might have been successful when on Monday night, a federal judge in Indiana blocked Montgomery's execution on mental health grounds.
Judge James Patrick Hanlon's decision to block Montgomery's lethal injection planned for Tuesday was based on evidence that she was unable to understand the government’s rationale for her execution.
The judge granted the stay of execution to allow the court to conduct a hearing to determine whether she is competent to be executed.
If the Supreme Court had allowed the final decision on her execution to be pushed into to Joe Biden’s administration, Montgomery's capitol punishment may not have been carried out.
But the Supreme Court vacated stays put on the case in an effort to delay the execution until Donald Trump leaves office.
In contrast to the Trump administration, Biden opposes the death penalty and said he would work to end its use.
Montgomery's lawyers recently asked Trump for clemency, saying she committed the crimes after a lifetime of being abused and raped.
However, Trump has been a staunch supporter of capital punishment. The federal government under his administration executed 10 people in 2020 alone, more than all of the states combined.
Montgomery was the first woman killed by the federal government in nearly 70 years.
The last woman to be executed by the government was Bonnie Heady, who died in a gas chamber in Missouri in 1953.
Details of Montgomery's gruesome crime at times left jurors in tears during her trial.
They were told she pretended to be a pregnant woman named "Darlene Fischer" to bond with Stinnett.
Prosecutors told the jury Montgomery drove about 170 miles from her Melvern, Kansas, farmhouse to the northwest Missouri town of Skidmore under the guise of adopting a puppy from Stinnett.
She then strangled Stinnett and performed a crude cesarean before fleeing with the baby.
Prosecutors said Stinnett regained consciousness and tried to defend herself as Montgomery cut the baby girl from her womb.
Later that day, Montgomery called her husband to pick her up in the parking lot of a Long John Silver’s in Topeka, Kansas, telling him she had delivered the baby earlier in the day at a nearby birthing center.
The child miraculously survived and Montgomery tried to pass the baby off as her own, even telling her husband she had given birth.
When Montgomery was taken in, the baby was given back to her father and she's now 16 years old.
Montgomery's legal team has also insisted that she was not represented properly in her previous trials.
They argue that while there is no question of her guilt, her severe mental health issues and extreme sexual abuse she was subject to as a child was not taken into account.
“It is difficult to grasp the extremity of the horrors Lisa suffered from her earliest childhood, including being raped by her stepfather, handed off to his friends for their use, sold to groups of adult men by her own mother and repeatedly gang raped, and relentlessly beaten and neglected.
"No one intervened to help Lisa, though many knew what was happening to her,” attorney Sandra Babcock previously said in a statement.
“No other woman has been executed for a similar crime, because most prosecutors have recognized that it is inevitably the product of trauma and mental illness."
"Executing Lisa Montgomery would be yet another injustice inflicted on a woman who has known a lifetime of mistreatment.”
The Trump administration restarted federal executions for the first time since 2003 over the summer, and has since carried out 10.
The administration has been criticised by opponents of the death penalty, who believe they are trying to push through as many executions as they can before they leave office.
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