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Execution Delayed for Only Woman on Federal Death Row

Nov. 19, 2020, 7:38 PM

The lone woman on federal death row obtained temporary relief when a judge in Washington, D.C., told the Trump administration it can’t execute her before Dec. 31.

Lisa Montgomery’s lawyers became “virtually bed-ridden” with Covid-19 while visiting her in prison after Attorney General William Barr announced in October that she would be executed on Dec. 8.

That led Montgomery’s legal team to press for more time to work on her clemency effort. Sitting in Washington, U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss granted that relief on Thursday, saying that the lawyers, Kelley Henry and Amy Harwell, need to finalize Montgomery’s clemency petition “as promptly as possible in light of their illness.”

The judge further said in his order that, if the lawyers believe they can’t do so with further assistance by Dec. 24, they need to tell a court to appoint counsel for Montgomery or to get other attorneys to help.

Montgomery’s lawyers have pointed to her history as a victim of gang rape, incest, and child sex trafficking, as well as her severe mental illness.

When he announced her execution in October, Barr said Montgomery fatally strangled a pregnant woman, Bobbie Jo Stinnett, cut open her body, and kidnapped her baby.

The case is Montgomery v. Barr, D.D.C., No. 20-3261, 11/19/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jordan S. Rubin in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Seth Stern at; John Crawley at