Inmates spared, for now
A woman’s execution also was placed on hold.
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — The U.S. government’s plans to carry out its first execution of a female inmate in nearly seven decades were on hold Tuesday amid a flurry of legal rulings, and two other executions set for later this weekwere halted because the inmates tested positive for COVID-19.
Lisa Montgomery faced execution Tuesday for killing 23-yearold Bobbie Jo Stinnett in the northwest Missouri town of Skidmore in 2004. An appeals court granted a stay of execution Tuesday, shortly after another appeals court lifted an Indiana judge’s ruling that found she was likely mentally ill and couldn’t comprehend she would be put to death.
Separately, a federal judge for the U.S. District of Columbia halted the scheduled executions this week of Cory Johnson and Dustin Higgs in a ruling Tuesday. Johnson, convicted of killing seven people in Richmond related to his drug trafficking, and Higgs tested positive for COVID-19 last month.
Any delays beyond Joe Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20 would likely mean the executions will not happen soon, or ever, since the administration is expected to oppose carrying out federal death sentences.
Judge explains delay
Executions would violate Eighth Amendment.