US judge again delays execution of woman on federal death row

US judge again delays execution of woman on federal death row
Lisa Montgomery was convicted of killing a pregnant woman in Skidmore, Missouri, in December 2004. Photograph: EPA
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Daily US Times: A judge has further delayed the planned execution of Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row in the US.

The ruling will potentially leave the Trump administration with no choice but to postpone the execution. A federal judge found that an attempt to reschedule her execution for January was unlawful.

The 52-year-old Montgomery was convicted of killing 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, in the north-west Missouri town of Skidmore in December 2004.

After strangling Stinnett, Montgomery cut the baby girl from the womb with a kitchen knife. The child survived and prosecutors said Montgomery then attempted to pass the child off as her own.

She was previously scheduled to be executed in December at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, but the US district court judge Randolph Moss delayed it after her attorneys contracted coronavirus and asked him to extend the time allowed to file a clemency petition.

Moss prohibited the Bureau of Prisons from carrying out Montgomery’s execution before the end of this year and officials rescheduled her execution date for 12 January next year. But Moss ruled on Wednesday that the agency was also prohibited from rescheduling the date while a stay was in place.

Moss wrote: “The court, accordingly, concludes that the director’s order setting a new execution date while the court’s stay was in effect not in accordance with law.’”

A spokesperson for the US Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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