The federal government executed Lisa Montgomery early Wednesday after the Supreme Court vacated a delay by a federal appeals court, the Wall Street Journal reports. She was the first female inmate to be put to death by federal authorities in nearly 70 years. The Bureau of Prisons said Montgomery was pronounced dead at 1:31 a.m. The high court’s three liberal members, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, voted to grant the stay Montgomery sought to pursue claims of mental illness that would render her execution unconstitutional. Neither the conservative majority nor the dissenters issued opinions discussing their reasons. “The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight. Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should feel shame,” said Kelley Henry, a Montgomery attorney.
Montgomery, 52, of Melvern, Ks., was convicted for the 2004 murder of Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant when the two women met in Skidmore, Mo. Prosecutors said Montgomery cut the baby from Stinnett’s womb and claimed the infant as her own. The federal government rarely had conducted executions since the early 1960s until the Trump administration made resumption of executions a priority. In 2020, the Federal Bureau of Prisons put 10 inmates to death, more than all the states combined. Last year, Texas executed three inmates, while Alabama, Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee each put one prisoner to death. The Justice Department has scheduled two executions, on Thursday and Friday,at the federal penitentiary at Terre Haute, In. President-elect Joe Biden is expected to issue a moratorium on federal executions while seeking the abolition of capital punishment.