The Department of Justice announced Friday that it has scheduled the execution of Lisa Montgomery for December 8, 2020. Montgomery will be the first female executed by the federal government in nearly seven decades.
The last woman to be executed by the federal government was Bonnie Brown Heady, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Heady was sentenced to death for a high-profile kidnapping and murder, and executed by gas chamber at the Missouri State Penitentiary on December 18, 1953.
Montgomery was given the death penalty in 2008 for killing mother-to-be Bobbie Jo Stinnett, cutting the baby from her womb, and then pretending it was her own. She became just the third woman on death row in the federal prison system.first time in 17 years. Since the decision, the Bureau of Prisons has executed seven people.
Moving forward with executions during a global health pandemic, which has ravaged prisons nationwide, drew scrutiny from civil rights groups — and at least one victim's family, who said they do not support the practice.
Attorney General William Barr told The Associated Press in July that the Justice Department has a duty to carry out the sentences imposed by the courts, including the death penalty, and to bring a sense of closure to the victims and those in the communities where the killings happened.
Critics argue that the government is creating an unnecessary and manufactured urgency for political gain.