A judge has said the U.S. Department of Justice illegally re-imposed a deadline to execute the only woman on the federal death penalty, potentially setting the Trump administration to carry out the death penalty after President-elect Joe Biden took office.
U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss also vacated an order from the director of the Cara Bureau of Prisons, which set Lisa Montgomery’s death sentence for Jan. 12.
Lisa Montgomery wanted a baby, so she hacked one of her heavy pregnancy prey.
Montgomery was convicted in December 2004 of the murder of 23-year-old Bobby Joe Steinett in northwestern Missouri, Skidmore.
Authorities say she used a rope to strangle the eight-month-pregnant Stinit and then used a kitchen knife to cut the baby from the womb, authorities said.
Prosecutors said Montgomery removed the baby from Stinette’s body, took the baby with him and tried to leave the girl as his own.
His legal team claims that their client is suffering from a serious mental illness.
Montgomery was due to be executed earlier this month at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terra Hou, Indiana, but Moss met with his client and asked him to extend his death sentence after contracting the carnivirus and delaying the execution.
Moss banned the Bureau of Prisons from executing Montgomery before the end of the year, and officials rescheduled his execution to January 12.
Moss, however, ruled on Wednesday that the agency was also prohibited from rescheduling the date during the stay.
The execution of Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on the federal death penalty, has been delayed for a second time.
Montgomery, 52, was sentenced to death in 2006 for killing a pregnant woman and stealing her fetus. http://t.co/EzpZrkYOiz
– New York Daily News (@nvidilynews) December 26, 2020
“The court, accordingly, ruled that the director’s order to set an effective death date at the time the court’s stay order was in effect was” not in accordance with the law, “Moss wrote.
A spokesman for the judiciary did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Under the order, the Bureau of Prisons will not be able to execute Montgomery until at least January 1.
Generally, a prisoner sentenced to death must be notified at least 20 days prior to the execution, according to judicial guidelines.
Due to the judge’s order, if the judiciary reschedules the date in January, it could mean that the execution will be scheduled after Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
A spokesman for Biden told the Associated Press that the president was “opposed to the death penalty now and in the future” and that he would work to end its use as president.
However, Biden’s representatives did not say whether executions would stop as soon as he took office.
Two more federal detainees are scheduled to be executed in January, but have tested positive for the coronavirus, and their lawyers have also called for delays in the execution.