A court in the United States has postponed the first execution of a woman sentenced to capital punishment at the Federal level in 70 years because her lawyers contracted COVID-19 while visiting a prison, NBC reports.
It was previously planned that the sentence would be carried out on December 8 in Indiana by lethal injection. Convicted Lisa Montgomery was found guilty of the particularly brutal murder of a pregnant woman in 2004. In the US, 70 years have not executed women convicted at the Federal level.
District Judge Randolph Moss blocked the execution until the end of the year to give the woman’s lawyers “time to recover from the illness” and prepare a request for a reduced sentence to the US President.
In July, the US Supreme Court ruled that the first executions in 17 years in US Federal prisons can be carried out, reversing a delay previously ordered by a lower court. The first person executed was 47-year-old Daniel Lewis Lee, also held in the Federal prison Terre Haute in Indiana.
The reinstatement of the Federal death penalty is symbolic for the United States, where the vast majority of executions take place in individual states’ jurisdiction, not federal authorities.