Lawyers for Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on death row in the US, have shared horrific details of the killer’s childhood in an attempt to stay her execution.
Montgomery was sentenced to death in 2008 by a Missouri jury for the 2004 murder of a pregnant woman, cutting the foetus out and kidnapping it.
The baby survived.
Attorneys on Tuesday said Montgomery was sexually assaulted by her stepfather and his friends in a purpose-built room.
They claimed Montgomery and her sister were both raped repeatedly in the room, with their mother joining in the sexual abuse by pimping her daughters out to paedophiles.
The court hearing is an 11th-hour attempt to get outgoing President Donald Trump to commute the sentence to life behind bars after a judge last week dismissed an appeal against Montgomery’s execution.
The court was told Montgomery was born with brain damage because of her mother’s drinking, Metro UK reports.
“Lisa Montgomery’s life was filled with torture, terror, failure and betrayal,” the lawyers argued.
Her stepdad allegedly began sexually abusing her when she was 11 years old in a specially-constructed room at the back of their trailer, lawyers said.
Lisa’s older sister, Diane Mattingley, has also pleaded for clemency, detailing the horrific sexual abuse they both endured as girls.
“So many people let her down,” Mattingley said.
“Yes, I started out the same way, but I went into a place where I was loved and cared for and shown self-worth.
“I had a good foundation.
“Lisa did not and she broke. She literally broke.”
‘So many people let her down.’
Montgomery killed her pregnant friend Bobbie Jo Stinnett in Skidmore, Missouri, in December 2004.
The 23-year-old victim was a dog breeder who had befriended Montgomery in an online chat about dogs.
Her unborn baby survived being cut from the womb and was returned to Skinnett’s husband after Bobbie Jo’s death.
It’s thought that Montgomery may have suffered a miscarriage before carrying out the murder.
The 52-year-old is due to be executed by lethal injection on January 12 at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Her lawyers argue that her mental illness should preclude her execution.
Donald Trump reinstated federal executions when he became President – the first time since 2002.
President-elect Joe Biden, who is due to be sworn into office on January 20, opposes the death penalty.
“We are asking for President Trump to please hear our plea. He can be a hero,” said Kelley Henry, one of Montgomery’s attorneys.
“In this case … he can make a very public statement about the importance of ending the stigmatization of mental illness.”
“We are not in any way trying to diminish the consequences of Lisa’s actions,” said Professor Sandra Babcock, an attorney on Montgomery’s case.
“What we are saying is that Lisa’s actions were attributable to the harm that was done to her long before she entered the criminal legal system.”
– with CNN
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