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Source: AP

International

US makes history by executing first woman in seven decades

An American woman on death row was executed on Wednesday by federal authorities becoming the first female executed in almost 7 decades. She was guilty of murdering a pregnant dog breeder in order to steal her baby. The woman called  Lisa Montgomery was pu to death by lethal injection.

The US Department of Justice said that 52-year-old Montgomery was pronounced dead at 1:31 am Eastern Time at a penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

DoJ also said the execution was “in accordance with the capital sentence unanimously recommended by a federal jury and imposed by the US District Court for the Western District of Missouri.”

The US Supreme Court approved Montgomery’s execution just hours earlier — despite doubts about her mental state — after the government of President Donald Trump had pushed for the application of the death penalty.

Her lawyer Kelley Henry, in a statement, called the decision — the first for a female inmate since 1953 — a “vicious, unlawful, and unnecessary exercise of authoritarian power”.

“No one can credibly dispute Ms Montgomery’s longstanding debilitating mental disease — diagnosed and treated for the first time by the Bureau of Prisons’ own doctors,” Henry said.

Montgomery was convicted in 2007 in Missouri for kidnapping and strangling Bobbie Jo Stinnett, then eight months pregnant. Montgomery cut Stinnett’s fetus from the womb. The child survived.

Montgomery’s defenders believe that she suffered mental illness due to abuse in her childhood and did not have the ability to understand the rationale behind her sentence- a prerequisite for execution.

Therefore, on Monday, a federal judge offered the defense a brief lifeline, ordering a stay of execution to allow time to assess Montgomery‘s mental state.

“The record before the Court contains ample evidence that Ms Montgomery’s current mental state is so divorced from reality that she cannot rationally understand the government’s rationale for her execution,” the ruling stated.

Nonetheless an appeals court overturned that decision on Tuesday, leaving it up to the US Supreme Court to decide, which said the execution could go ahead.

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