Lisa Montgomery Becomes the First Woman to Be Executed Since 1953 | Who Was She and Why Did She Suffer Such a Fate?

Lisa Montgomery Becomes the First Woman to Be Executed Since 1953 | Who Was She and Why Did She Suffer Such a Fate?

Lisa Montgomery, 52, passed away on January 12 after she was given a lethal injection. She faced capital punishment for a murder she committed in 2004.

Trigger Warning: Graphic details of murder

For the first time in nearly 70 years, the US allowed its first federal execution of a woman. The Kansas woman, Lisa Montgomery, 52, was pronounced dead at 1.31 a.m. on January 12 after being given a lethal injection at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. It makes her the 11th prisoner to be delivered this fatal cocktail since July 2020, which is when President Donald Trump resumed federal executions after 17 years, reported The Associated Press.

Lisa's half-sister, Diane Mattingly, wrote in Elle before her death: "I will always love her, but what she did was the most awful thing a person can do. Lisa should spend the rest of her life in prison, no doubt, but she shouldn’t have to die."

And yet, she did die for her crimes. In 2004, a week before Christmas, Lisa had contacted a pregnant 23-year-old dog breeder named Bobbie Jo Stinnett under the guise of purchasing a puppy. She set up a meeting with Bobbie in her home in Skidmore, Missouri. When Lisa got there she strangled the dog breeder and removed her 8-month-old fetus with a kitchen knife. She then ran away with the child and tried to pass the baby girl as her own daughter in front of friends and family.


The child is alive and turned 16 in December 2020 on the anniversary of her mom's death, reports The New York Times. Richard Chaney, 38, a childhood friend and classmate of Bobbie, said that Lisa's death was justice even if she had a difficult past life. "You don’t see them out killing pregnant women and cutting babies out," he said. "I get, you know, people like, 'Death penalty’s wrong,' but at what point do you excuse something like this?" he asked. To him, Lisa's execution is a way to bring closure to his community in Missouri.

What she did was heinous but she was a mentally ill woman who had suffered unimaginable trauma because of years of rape and physical assault. Her attorney Kelley Henry told Elle in a statement that her death "was far from justice" and "she should never have faced a death sentence in the first place."


"The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight," said Kelley in a statement, as per The Associated Press. "Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should feel shame. The government stopped at nothing in its zeal to kill this damaged and delusional woman," she added.

Lisa was also the first of the last three inmates who are to face capital punishment before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, who is most likely going to discontinue federal executions.


Her case had led to much debate and legal wrangling in the Supreme Court, all of which came to naught. A series of court orders had briefly blocked her execution until it could no longer be stopped, writes The New York Times.

The last women to face execution by the federal government were Bonnie Brown Heady for kidnapping and murder and Ethel Rosenberg for espionage, both in 1953.





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