Lawyers argue Lisa Montgomery, convicted in Missouri woman’s death, not competent for execution

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FILE – This undated file image provided by Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery shows Lisa Montgomery. A federal appeals court has lifted a judge’s order that had blocked the execution date for Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row. Montgomery was convicted of fatally strangling a pregnant woman, cutting her body open and kidnapping her baby. The ruling was handed down Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, by a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. (Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery via AP)

WASHINGTON — Lawyers for the only woman on federal death row are asking a judge to halt her execution, arguing she isn’t competent and can’t be put to death.

Lisa Montgomery’s lawyers filed a petition Friday in federal court in Indiana seeking to halt the execution, which is scheduled for Tuesday at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana.

They argue putting Montgomery to death would violate her constitutional rights because she “has brain damage, severe mental illness, and suffered a lifetime of sexual torture.”

She is one of three inmates scheduled to be executed by the Justice Department next week, just days before President-elect Joe Biden takes the oath of office. Biden opposes the death penalty, and his spokesman has said he’ll work to end its use.

Montgomery was convicted of killing 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett in the northwest Missouri town of Skidmore in December 2004. She used a rope to strangle Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, and then cut the baby girl from the womb with a kitchen knife, authorities said.

Montgomery took the child with her and attempted to pass the girl off as her own, prosecutors said.

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