‘Womb raider’ female death row killer to be executed this month, US court rules

A US court has ruled that Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on death row, can finally be executed this month.

Montgomery strangled a pregnant woman to death in Missouri before cutting her unborn baby out of her womb and kidnapping her in 2004.

A new ruling, handed down by a three-judge panel in the US Court of Appeals, concluded that a previous judge was wrong to vacate the killer's execution date.

It had been ruled that the Justice Department unlawfully rescheduled the execution, and a vacate date had been put in place to kill the so-called 'Womb Raider' on January 12.

She had been due to be put to death by lethal injection in December, before Judge Randolph Moss delayed the punishment after her attorneys caught coronavirus.

Judge Moss concluded that the Bureau of Prisons was not allowed to decide a new date for Montgomery's death until at least January 1.

But the appeals panel have now disagreed, paving the way for the the January 12 execution to continue.

Meaghan VerGow, an attorney for Montgomery, said her team would ask for the appeals court to review the case and said Montgomery should not be executed on January 12.

  • Killer who ripped unborn baby from victim 'should be spared from execution' beg family

Montgomery, the only woman on death row, was convicted of killing 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stint in December 2004. She strangled her victim, who was eight months pregnant, with a rope before retrieving the unborn baby girl with a kitchen knife.

She then kidnapped the infant and tried to pass her off as her own, prosecutors said previously.

Montgomery, 52, is currently locked up at the all-female Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas where she remains the only woman on federal death row.

  • Who is Lisa Montgomery? First federal female inmate to face death penalty in 67 years

If carried out, her death would be the first female federal execution since 1953.

And it could be one of the last, as President elect Joe Biden has publicly denounced the death penalty.

His spokesman, TJ Ducklo, said Mr Biden would work to end the death penalty but it is not known whether he will halt federal executons when he takes office.

President Donald Trump's administration has rescheduled 13 executions since July, when Republicans resumed federal executions after a 17-year hiatus.

Ten of those have been put to death already with two more scheduled before he leaves office.

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