Nov. 19 (UPI) — A federal decide on Thursday granted a keep of execution for a lady convicted of murdering a pregnant Missouri girl and stealing her child — after her attorneys contracted COVID-19.
Lisa Montgomery, 52, of Kansas, was scheduled to be executed Dec. eight on the U.S. Penitentiary Terre Haute, Ind. District Decide Randolph Moss of the District of Columbia stated Montgomery’s two attorneys ought to have the time to “current a significant petition for a reprieve or commutation of sentence” to President Donald Trump.
Since each protection attorneys — Amy Harwell and Kelley Henry — have COVID-19 and are experiencing “debilitating signs,” the decide blocked the U.S. authorities from executing Montgomery till Dec. 31.
“The district courtroom’s ruling offers Lisa Montgomery a significant alternative to arrange and current a clemency software after her attorneys get better from COVID,” stated Sandra Babcock, one other of Montgomery’s attorneys.
“Mrs. Montgomery’s case presents compelling grounds for clemency, together with her historical past as a sufferer of gang rape, incest, and baby intercourse trafficking, in addition to her extreme psychological sickness. She is going to now have the chance to current this proof to the president with a request that he commute her sentence to life imprisonment.”
Montgomery was sentenced to loss of life in 2007 for the 2004 loss of life of Bobbie Jo Stinnett. Prosecutors stated Montgomery visited Stinnett’s dwelling beneath the guise of buying a pet. As soon as there, although, she strangled the girl, who was eight months pregnant, then lower the newborn from her physique. Montgomery tried to cross the new child off as her personal.
Police later recovered the newborn and returned her protected to her father.
Montgomery’s attorneys have visited her a number of instances for the reason that federal authorities scheduled her execution in October, touring from Nashville to Fort Price, Texas, by air and making use of rental automobiles and accommodations.
Montgomery is housed at Federal Medical Heart Carswell, however could be transferred to the power at Terre Haute if her execution proceeds.
Three days after their Nov. 2 go to, lawyer Amy Harwell grew to become ailing with COVID-19 signs and fellow lawyer Kelley Henry misplaced her sense of odor, in response to courtroom paperwork filed by the protection group.
Cornell Legislation College’s Worldwide Human Rights Clinic, which is representing Montgomery, stated the pandemic has made it tough for her attorneys to do the investigations essential to offer her efficient counsel within the final weeks earlier than her scheduled execution.
“Mrs. Montgomery’s attorneys can’t signify her as a result of they’re critically ailing, by no fault of their very own. Quite the opposite, they’re sick as a result of Defendant [Attorney General William] Barr recklessly scheduled Mrs. Montgomery’s execution in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. However for Barr’s motion, counsel wouldn’t have been stricken with the illness that’s ravaging the nation. However the pandemic impacts greater than counsel. Due to COVID-19, the specialists conversant in her case can’t assess her psychological state and due to this fact can’t take part within the clemency course of,” the lawsuit says.
Earlier this month, a whole bunch of supporters, anti-domestic violence teams and prosecutors despatched letters to President Donald Trump asking him to commute Montgomery’s loss of life sentence. They stated she ought to be spared the loss of life penalty as a result of she has extreme psychological sickness after experiencing bodily, emotional and sexual abuse as a toddler. They stated her mom trafficked her as a teen.
Barr resumed federal executions in July after a 17-year hiatus. Daniel Lewis Lee, Wesley Purkey and Dustin Honken had been executed in July; Lezmond Mitchell and Keith Dwayne Nelson in August; and William LeCroy and Vialva in September.
A number of of the inmates tried to have their executions delayed due to the pandemic, however had been unsuccessful.
The federal authorities is predicted to hold out its eighth execution this yr Thursday — that of Orlando Corridor.