Lisa Montgomery's Attorney Slams 'Craven Bloodlust' of 'Failed' Trump Administration

Lisa Montgomery's attorney denounced the "craven bloodlust of a failed administration" after the U.S. government executed her in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Montgomery, 52, was pronounced dead at 1.31. a.m. after receiving the lethal injection at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

She is the first woman to be executed by the U.S. government in 67 years—and the 11th person put to death since the Trump administration resumed federal executions last summer after a 17-year pause.

It occurred after the Supreme Court ruled the execution could proceed, despite Montgomery's lawyers arguing that she did not understand the basis for her execution. They said the years of sexual abuse and torture Montgomery suffered throughout her childhood had left her with mental illness so severe that she disassociated from reality.

Montgomery was convicted of federal kidnapping resulting in death in 2007. Prosecutors said she had driven from her home in Melvern, Kansas, to Skidmore, Missouri, on December 16, 2004, under the guise of adopting a rat terrier puppy from 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett. There, she strangled Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, cut the fetus out with a kitchen knife and fled with the baby.

"Lisa Montgomery's execution was far from justice. She should never have faced a death sentence in the first place, as no other woman has faced execution for a similar crime," her attorney Kelley Henry said in a statement to Newsweek.

Death row inmate Lisa Montgomery
Lisa Montgomery was executed early on January 13, becoming the first woman put to death by the U.S. government in almost 70 years. Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery

She said Montgomery "was much more than the tragic crime she committed, a crime for which she felt deep remorse before she lost all touch with reality in the days before her execution."

She added: "Lisa was also much more than the horrors inflicted upon her, the sexual violence and abuse she endured at the hands of those who were supposed to love, nurture and protect her."

Henry described her as a "loving mother, grandmother and sister who adored her family" and a devout Christian.

"Lisa often became trapped in the prison of her mind, losing touch with reality for periods of time. But when not gripped by psychosis, she was a gentle and caring person whom I was honored to know and to represent," Henry added.

"The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight," Henry said, adding that everyone who took part in Montgomery's execution "should feel shame."

She continued: "No one disagrees that Mrs. Montgomery was the victim of unspeakable torture and sex trafficking. No one can credibly dispute Mrs. Montgomery's longstanding debilitating mental disease—diagnosed and treated for the first time by the Bureau of Prisons' own doctors."

She continued: "Our Constitution forbids the execution of a person who is unable to rationally understand her execution. The current administration knows this. And they killed her anyway. Violating the Constitution, federal law, its own regulations and longstanding norms along the way. The government stopped at nothing in its zeal to kill this damaged and delusional woman."

Henry also slammed the Trump administration for scheduling executions during a pandemic, saying it demonstrated a "reckless disregard for human life."

Montgomery's execution had initially been scheduled for December, but was postponed after Henry and another of Montgomery's attorneys contracted COVID-19 after visiting their client in prison.

"After we, her attorneys, contracted COVID-19 during our travels to visit her after her execution was scheduled, the government fought tooth and nail against any delay to allow us to recover so we could represent her effectively," Henry said.

"Then they violated the law in multiple ways in rescheduling her execution for the final days of the Trump administration. As courts agreed Lisa's case presented important legal issues warranting serious consideration—including whether she was competent to execute—the government hammered onward with appeals.

"By insisting on an execution during a pandemic, this administration demonstrated its reckless disregard for human life of innocent citizens. Executions are super-spreader events. The government knows this. Yet they put the lives of every single person who must participate in these "events", as well as every one of those persons' friends, families, neighbors, co-workers, and who knows how many other people, [at risk]."

Critics suggested that Trump was ramping up federal executions in a bid to burnish his reputation as the "law and order" candidate before the presidential election in November.

However, several executions were also scheduled to take place during the presidential transition period—all Black men, save for Montgomery.

Orlando Hall, Brandon Bernard and Alfred Bourgeois were put to death in November and December. Two other inmates—Cory Johnson and Dustin Higgs—were scheduled to be executed later this week, days before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. A federal judge halted both executions in a ruling on Tuesday night because the two men are recovering from COVID-19.

Henry said the Trump administration was "so afraid that the next one might choose life over death, they put the lives and health of U.S. citizens in grave danger."

Biden's campaign has said his administration will work to eliminate the federal death penalty.

Henry also called out Trump directly, saying he had not even acknowledged Montgomery's clemency petition, despite support from thousands of advocates and groups.

"Lisa's request for clemency remained before President Trump," Henry said. "It was supported by thousands of organizations and individuals—faith leaders, anti-violence advocates, conservative leaders, international organizations and many more. But the president did nothing. He had not even the decency to formally deny—or even acknowledge—Lisa's clemency application, though it is hard to imagine a case more deserving of executive intervention than this one."

Trump, a zealous supporter of capital punishment, faces being impeached for an unprecedented second time on Wednesday, after he exhorted his supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. A violent mob of Trump loyalists stormed and ransacked the building. At least five people died, including a Capitol police officer.

"In the past week, we have seen just how far President Trump and his administration will go in their disdain for justice and the rule of law," Henry said.

"This failed government adds itself to the long list of people and institutions who failed Lisa. We should recognize Lisa Montgomery's execution for what it was: the vicious, unlawful and unnecessary exercise of authoritarian power. We cannot let this happen again."