Trump Administration Executes Only Woman On Federal Death Row

Melissa Jeltsen
·2-min read
Lisa Montgomery was abused, neglected and raped as a child. Before her execution, she was in a psychotic state — hearing voices and having religious delusions, her lawyers said.
Lisa Montgomery was abused, neglected and raped as a child. Before her execution, she was in a psychotic state — hearing voices and having religious delusions, her lawyers said.

The Trump administration executed Lisa Montgomery, 52, in the early hours of Wednesday morning, ending the tortured life of the only woman on federal death row.

The government killed Montgomery with a lethal injection of pentobarbital over objections by her lawyers that her mental state rendered her incompetent for execution.

Montgomery, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder with psychotic features and complex post-traumatic stress disorder, had lost touch with reality and was unable to comprehend what was happening, her lawyers wrote in court filings before her death. In the days leading up to her execution, she was having auditory hallucinations of her abusive mother’s voice, her lawyers said, and believed that God was speaking with her through connect-the-dot puzzles.

She was pronounced dead at 1:31 am at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. She was the first woman to be executed by the federal government in nearly 70 years.

“The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight,” said Kelley Henry, one of Montgomery’s lawyers, in a statement. “Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should feel shame.”

Montgomery was a textbook example of the potent effect of childhood abuse. On the Adverse Childhood Experiences scale, which tallies how much trauma a child suffers before the age of 18, she scored a 9 out of 10.

According to reports from family members, her mother beat her and withheld all forms of affection. Her stepfather began to molest her at age 11. Later, he built a room onto the side of a trailer to isolate her from the family for the purposes of sexual violence. Even after Montgomery’s mother walked in on her husband raping her daughter, she did not report it to authorities. Montgomery told a cousin at the time that her parents were also allowing other men to rape her in exchange for work done around the house.

Experts who have evaluated Montgomery believe that she began to...

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