WASHINGTON — Attorneys for a Kansas woman on death row for brutally killing a pregnant woman and cutting her unborn baby from her womb, are seeking a delay of her execution after they contracted COVID-19 while working on her case.
Lisa Montgomery was convicted of strangling a Missouri woman who was eight months pregnant in 2007 and taking her unborn baby, who survived.
She is currently the only woman facing federal execution after Attorney General William Barr recently scheduled her execution in Indiana for Dec. 8.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Montgomery’s attorneys revealed that they contracted coronavirus while travelling to work on her case, and are experiencing debilitating symptoms after visiting her.
The lawyers, Amy Harwell and Kelley Henry, said in a lawsuit that because Barr scheduled Montgomery’s execution during the pandemic, they had to travel from Nashville to Texas twice, after which both of them tested positive for the virus.
“They are sick because Defendant Barr recklessly scheduled Mrs. Montgomery’s execution in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the federal lawsuit.
The court documents said Harwell and Henry are now both bedridden and unable to work on the case.
The suit asks Montgomery not be put to death until her attorneys recover and can prepare her clemency application. The Trump administration has rejected the request for a reprieve due to their illnesses.
The 52-year-old Montgomery, of Melvern, Kansas, was convicted in 2007 of strangling 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett in northwest Missouri and kidnapping her unborn baby after cutting her from her womb. The child was later found safe.
Montgomery would be the first woman to be executed by the federal government in 67 years. She is the only woman among the 55 prisoners on federal death row and is scheduled to die by lethal injection Dec. 8.