Published on: Sunday, October 18, 2020

(October 16, 2020) On Friday evening, the Department of Justice announced its plan to execute Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on the federal government’s death row. Ms. Montgomery’s execution is scheduled for December 8, 2020. Below is a statement from Kelley Henry, one of Ms. Montgomery’s attorneys.

“Few human beings have lived through the kind of torture and trauma that was inflicted on Lisa Montgomery by her mentally ill, alcoholic mother. From a young age, Lisa was sexually trafficked, told she had to ‘earn her keep,’ and repeatedly gang raped by adult men. The abuses Lisa endured exacerbated a genetic predisposition to mental illness inherited from both sides of her family. She suffers from complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and to this day must maintain a complex regimen of anti-psychotic medications to control her episodic psychosis. 

“In the grip of her mental illness, Lisa committed a terrible crime. Yet she immediately expressed profound remorse and was willing to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence with no possibility of release. Lisa then was represented at trial by an incompetent lawyer who has the dubious distinction of having more clients on federal death row than any other attorney. He failed to present Lisa’s jury with competent evidence about her traumatic history and severe mental illness, instead presenting pseudo-science through a witness who was not even a licensed mental health professional. And instead of recognizing Lisa as a trafficking victim, the government suggested she was complicit in the incest and abuse she suffered. 

“Lisa Montgomery has long accepted full responsibility for her crime, and she will never leave prison. But her severe mental illness and the devastating impacts of her childhood trauma make executing her a profound injustice.”

- Kelley Henry, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Middle District of Tennessee
- Attorney for Lisa Montgomery

-October 16, 2020