Mental illness issues could halt execution of female inmate

Stay granted to Lisa Montgomery, first female inmate on death row in US

The executions were to be the last before President-elect Joe Biden, an opponent of the federal death penalty, is sworn-in next week.

The U.S. has executed 10 people at Terre Haute since the resumption of federal executions after a 17-year pause started on July 14. Ten federal inmates have since been put to death.

Montgomery, who was due to be killed by lethal injection on January 12, was convicted in 2007 in Missouri for kidnapping and strangling Bobbie Jo Stinnett, then eight months pregnant.

Montgomery eventually confessed, and the rope and bloody knife used to kill Stinnett were found in her vehicle.

Montgomery's execution has been postponed once before: after her lawyers tested positive for Covid-19 in November, a court postponed her execution until at least Dec 31.

Can Montgomery escape death penalty?

Three judges with the higher appeals court reversed Judge Hanlon's order, saying that Montgomery's attorneys waited too long to bring their request for an execution stay to federal court.

Days after Lisa Montgomery, only woman on death row in the USA, was scheduled to be executed before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony, a judge has granted a stay of execution to her.

The full court sided with Judge Patricia A. Millett, who dissented in the panel ruling, and noted that Missouri law requires 90 days between the scheduling of an execution and the execution itself.

A judge has granted a last-minute stay in what was slated to be the US government's first execution of a female inmate in almost seven decades - a Kansas woman who killed an expectant mother in Missouri, cut the baby from her womb and passed off the newborn as her own.

"I don't believe she has any rational comprehension of what's going on at all", Henry said.

"Mrs Montgomery is mentally deteriorating and we are seeking an opportunity to prove her incompetence", Henry said in a statement. She hasn't been able to continue that hobby or read since her glasses were taken away from her out of concern she could commit suicide.

At trial, prosecutors accused Montgomery of faking mental illness, noting that her killing of Stinnett was premeditated and included meticulous planning, including online research on how to perform a C-section.

"She is broken. She has mental illness".

In Monday's ruling, Judge Hanlon of the US District Court for the Southern District of IN wrote: "Ms Montgomery's motion to stay execution is granted to allow the court to conduct a hearing to determine Ms Montgomery's competence to be executed".

Montgomery's attorneys welcomed the ruling.

"Ms. Montgomery's current mental state is so divorced from reality that she can not rationally understand the government's rationale for her execution".

In 2020, the US government executed 10 people. She left Stinnett dead in a pool of blood.

Montgomery's lawyers do not deny the seriousness of her crime: in 2004, she killed a pregnant woman in order to steal her baby. Montgomery then cut Ms Stinnett's fetus from the womb.

Lisa Montgomery's sister Diane Mattingly recently spoke to KCTV in Kansas City.

The woman was arrested the next day after she showed off the premature infant, Victoria Jo, who is now 16 years old and hasn't spoken publicly about the tragedy, reported AP. Needing a baby before a fast-approaching court date, Montgomery turned her focus on Stinnett, whom she had met at dog shows.

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