Nov. 23 (UPI) -- A federal court on Monday rescheduled the execution of a woman convicted of murdering a pregnant Missouri woman and stealing her unborn baby after delaying the process due to her lawyers falling sick with COVID-19.
Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery on Monday said that her execution had been rescheduled to Jan. 12 while arguing that she should not face the death penalty citing her "severe mental illness and lifetime of trauma."
"Despite Lisa's deteriorating mental health and a much deeper understanding of the trauma she endured, the government plans to kill her. No other woman has been executed for a similar crime, because most prosecutors have recognized that it is inevitably the product of trauma and mental illness," said Sandra Babcock, one of Montgomery's attorneys.
Montgomery, 52, was sentenced to death in 2007 for the 2004 death of Bobbie Jo Stinnett. Prosecutors said Montgomery visited Stinnett's home under the guise of purchasing a puppy. Once there, she strangled the woman, who was eight months pregnant, then cut the baby from her body. Montgomery tried to pass the newborn off as her own.
She was originally scheduled to be executed on Dec. 8 but last week District Judge Randolph Moss of the District of Columbia blocked the U.S. government from executing Montgomery until Dec. 31 as both of her defense lawyers -- Amy Harwell and Kelley Henry -- have COVID-19 and are experiencing "debilitating symptoms."
Moss said the two should have the time to "present a meaningful petition for a reprieve or commutation of sentence" to President Donald Trump.
Montgomery has been the only woman on death row since 2008 and would be the first woman executed by the federal government in 67 years.
Earlier this month, hundreds of supporters, anti-domestic violence groups and prosecutors sent letters to Trump requesting that her sentence be commuted as she has severe mental illness after experiencing physical, emotional and sexual abuse as a child. They said her mother trafficked her as a teenager.