Jan. 12 (UPI) — A U.S. decide late Monday granted a keep of execution for Lisa Montgomery, the one girl on federal demise row in the US, to permit the courtroom to find out if she is mentally competent to be put to demise underneath the Structure.

Decide James Patrick Hanlon of the U.S. District Courtroom of the Southern District of Indiana granted the keep hours earlier than Montgomery, 52, was to be executed by deadly injection Tuesday on the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., for the 2004 ugly killing of a pregnant girl.

Kelley Henry, Montgomery’s lawyer, stated the courtroom “was proper” to remain the execution and order the evidentiary listening to.

“Mrs. Montgomery has mind injury and extreme psychological sickness that was exacerbated by the lifetime of sexual torture she suffered by the hands of caretakers,” Henry stated in an emailed assertion to UPI. “Mrs. Montgomery is mentally deteriorating and we’re in search of a chance to show her incompetence.”

Montgomery was convicted in 2007 for killing Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, by strangulation after which utilizing a kitchen knife to chop and take away her unborn toddler from her abdomen. The child was returned to her father in good well being the subsequent day after Montgomery was arrested.

In October, the Justice Division introduced it had scheduled Montgomery to be put to demise in early December however the date was rescheduled to Tuesday after her attorneys fell sick with COVID-19.

Her authorized staff petitioned the courtroom late final week following months of litigation for a keep citing “psychological sicknesses and defect.”

In assist of the petition, her authorized staff introduced proof from three knowledgeable witnesses who detailed Montgomery’s psychological sickness, every concluding that her notion of actuality was distorted, Hanlon stated in his order.

“Primarily based on this proof, the courtroom finds that Ms. Montgomery has made a powerful displaying that she’s going to be capable of make the edge displaying of madness that requires a listening to,” he stated.

The federal government’s main argument towards the petition is that it ought to have been filed earlier as usually last-minute filings are frivolous, however Hanlon wrote that it’s neither frivolous based mostly on the proof introduced nor its timing unreasonable as a result of case’s procedural historical past and given what’s at stake.

“Whereas this courtroom is aware about the potential of strategic litigation, neither that risk or the delay outweigh the necessity for the keep when counsel has made a threshold displaying that Ms. Montgomery is presently incompetent to be executed,” he wrote.

Montgomery was considered one of three federal demise row inmates scheduled to be put to demise this week with Corey Johnson set to die Thursday and Dustin Higgs on Friday, all within the days earlier than the Biden administration assumes energy.