- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 5, 2021

In a last-ditch effort to stop her execution, lawyers for the only woman on federal death row on Tuesday petitioned President Trump for clemency.

The petition for Lisa Montgomery was filed roughly minutes before a federal appeals court decided to let its earlier ruling stand, allowing her Jan. 12 execution to move forward.

In the petition, Montgomery’s lawyers detail the horrific domestic and sexual abuse she endured from infancy to adolescence. Her lawyers are asking Mr. Trump to reduce her sentence to life in prison.

Montgomery was born to an abusive alcoholic mother who drank during pregnancy, the petition states.

Her mom’s treatment of her and her stepsister Diane was “cruel and sadistic,” according to her lawyers. The mom, Judy Shaughnessy, was so cruel she once beat the family dog to death in front of her kids, the petition states.

Montgomery was repeatedly molested by her stepdad Jack Kleiner, starting at roughly 11 years old her, lawyers say. That molestation eventually escalated to rape and ultimately gang rape after his buddies would pay Montgomery’s mom to have sex with her daughter, according to the petition.

Mr. Kleiner even built a special room with a secret entrance solely for the purposes of raping Montgomery, the petition states.

“What happened to Lisa was worse than any horror movie, worse than anything you can imagine,” her attorney Kelley Henry told reporters. “No movie producer would put on a screen what happened to Lisa because it is just too difficult to look at, and no one would buy the ticket.”

Already brain-damaged because of her mom’s heavy drinking, Montgomery’s mental health worsened because of the relentless physical and sexual trauma she suffered.

“Her life was torture from the very beginning,” Ms. Henry said. “We now know from science that torture has led to brain damage.”

Montgomery is scheduled to die by lethal injection at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, on Jan. 12. She is one of three executions set for the final days of Mr. Trump’s time in office.

Since the Justice Department reinstated the death penalty after a 17-year hiatus, the Trump administration executed 10 prisoners last year. All 10 inmates filed a clemency petition, and they were all denied.

Ms. Henry said Montgomery’s case is unique.

“Our case for clemency and mercy is different from every other petition President Trump has seen,” she said. “No other person who committed this crime is on death row or scheduled for federal execution … and we have a history of trauma and torture unlike any case President Trump has seen or will see.”

In 2004, Montgomery was convicted of murdering Bobbie Jo Stinnett, a 23-year-old pregnant woman in Kansas. Montgomery used a kitchen knife to cut the 8-month-old fetus out of Stinnett’s womb and tried to raise it as her own.

The baby eventually survived and was returned to the father.

Montgomery was originally scheduled to be executed last month, but that was pushed back to January after her attorneys contracted the coronavirus.

A federal judge last week held that Montgomery’s execution should be postponed, ruling that the Federal Bureau of Prisons couldn’t set an execution date while the case was on hold. But a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the execution can proceed.

Montgomery’s lawyers asked the full slate of judges on the appeals court to rehear the case, but they denied her request on Tuesday.

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