By Crescenzo Vellucci
Vanguard Sacramento Bureau Chief
TERRA HAUTE, IN – For those who have said President Trump can’t do much more “damage” in his final week in power, the case of Lisa Montgomery stands out – early Wednesday here she became the first woman to be executed by the federal government in 67 years as a bizarre Trump Administration execution spree continues.
And it was the Trump-nominee dominated U.S. Supreme Court late Tuesday that was the final decision-maker, lifting a stay of execution granted by Judge James Hanlon of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Indiana earlier Tuesday.
Hanlon wrote, “Ms. Montgomery’s motion to stay execution is GRANTED to allow the Court to conduct a hearing to determine Ms. Montgomery’s competence to be executed.”
That hearing never happened. Lisa Montgomery’s time of death was 1:31 a.m., Indiana time Wednesday.
“As a curtain was raised in the execution chamber, Montgomery looked momentarily bewildered as she glanced at journalists peering at her from behind thick glass in the observation room,” according to the Associated Press.
“At the start of the execution process, an executioner standing over Montgomery’s shoulder leaned over, gently removed her face mask and asked if she had any last words. Montgomery responded with a quiet ‘no.’ She tapped her fingers nervously for several seconds, a heart-shaped tattoo on her thumb, but she otherwise showed no signs of distress, and quickly closed her eyes,” the AP reported.
News reports chronicled that the pentobarbital lethal injection “began to flow through IVs into both of Montgomery’s arms at about 1:18 a.m. She licked her lips and briefly gasped, a few minutes later, her midsection briefly throbbed.”
The Trump administration is rushing to execute Montgomery and two others – Corey Johnson, and Dustin Higgs. They also were set to be executed before the Biden Administration took office, but they both have stays until March. For now.
Miriam Krinsky, Executive Director of Fair and Just Prosecution, points out that these executions are particularly unjust.
Montgomery had a documented history of mental illness, was a victim of physical and sexual abuse from a young age and very little of this information was introduced to the jury, claim supporters.
Corey Johnson, in childhood, experienced an intense amount of trauma and violence, noted lawyers, who argue that he has an intellectual disability and this was never shared at trial.
Dustin Higgs was sentenced to death for murder even though the state acknowledges that he did not kill anyone himself.
Krinsky states that “the death penalty is an increasingly disavowed form of punishment that disproportionately impacts people of color, risks executing people who are innocent and does nothing to deter crime or improve public safety.”
She strongly asserts why the death penalty should not be rushed by the Trump administration prior to leaving office.
In a joint statement, 100 current and former criminal justice leaders stressed that “our nation’s long experiment with the death penalty has failed…. We also now know that we have not executed the worst of the worst, but often instead put to death the unluckiest of the unlucky – the impoverished, the poorly represented, and the most broken.”
Both Krinsky and other former and current criminal justice leaders stress that the death penalty should not be imposed and that it is an injustice to the people who have been punished and whom the Trump administration is trying to punish.
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