For the first time since 1953, the United States executed a female inmate. Lisa Montgomery was convicted of murdering a Missouri woman and cutting out her unborn baby in 2004.
Montgomery, 52, was given a lethal injection at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, and was pronounced dead at 1:31 a.m. on Wednesday (January 13) morning.
Montogomery's execution was carried out following a series of last-minute legal challenges from her lawyers, who claimed she was suffering from mental illness. U.S. District Judge Patrick Hanlon granted a stay of execution, citing the need for more information on whether she was mentally competent to be executed.
On Tuesday, an appeals court in Chicago reversed Hanlon's decision, allowing Montgomery's execution to move forward. It was then put on hold again after an appeals court in Washington, D.C., blocked the execution because of concerns about whether the Justice Department provided sufficient notice of Montgomery's execution date.
Early Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court vacated the decisions of Hanlon and the appeals court in D.C., paving the way for Montgomery's execution.
She is the first female federal inmate to be executed since Bonnie Brown Heady on December 18, 1953. Heady was convicted of kidnapping and murdering a six-year-old boy.
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