One of three people facing the federal death penalty this week has won a stay of execution in two separate federal appeals courts. Lisa Montgomery’s attorneys argue that she is not competent to face execution and has serious mental illness and brain damage stemming from “a lifetime of sexual torture she suffered at the hands of caretakers.”
Days before President Donald Trump leaves office, his administration has rushed to execute Montgomery and two more people — Cory Johnson and Dustin Higgs — capping an unprecedented killing spree on federal death row that began last July.
Johnson and Higgs recently contracted Covid-19, and their lawyers are arguing that their symptoms, combined with the effects of lethal injection, amount to cruel and unusual punishment.
When Trump’s Department of Justice restarted federal executions for the first time in 17 years, The Intercept’s Liliana Segura began traveling to the site of the execution chamber in Terre Haute, Indiana. These are her dispatches from the death machine.