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The U.S. government carried out its first execution of a female inmate in nearly 70 years early this morning. The Supreme Court cleared the way for the Federal Bureau of Prisons to put Lisa Montgomery to death. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.
And a warning - this report contains details that listeners may find disturbing.
CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Lisa Montgomery was pronounced dead at 1:31 in the morning after a marathon legal battle that began late Monday when a judge in Indiana issued a stay of her execution. It was an all-day and late-night flurry of appeals over if and when Montgomery would be put to death that ended when the Supreme Court issued a final ruling at midnight. As the execution began, a woman removed Montgomery's face mask and asked if she had any last words. She responded no and said nothing else.
Attorney Kelley Henry had argued all along that her client had brain damage and suffered from severe mental illness. She said that everyone who participated in Montgomery's execution should feel shame.
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KELLEY HENRY: We do not execute people in this country who have her type of history of torture, abuse and mental illness.
CORLEY: Montgomery was sentenced to death in 2008 for killing 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett in Missouri. Stinnett was eight months pregnant when Montgomery strangled her, cut the baby from her womb and tried to pass the child off as her own. Montgomery was the first of the final three federal inmates scheduled to die this week before President-elect Joe Biden, a death penalty opponent, is inaugurated. A federal judge put the executions of the two men on hold. With Montgomery's death, 11 people on death row have been executed by the Trump administration since July.
Cheryl Corley, NPR News, Chicago.
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