Lawyers for 'womb raider' killer Lisa Montgomery say she was 'disconnected from reality'


Lawyers for the 'womb raider' killer Lisa Montgomery have said she was 'disconnected from reality'

Lawyers for the ‘womb raider’ killer Lisa Montgomery have said she was ‘disconnected from reality’

Lawyers for the ‘womb raider’ killer Lisa Montgomery – the first female federal death row inmate to be executed in nearly 70 years – have said she was ‘disconnected from reality’ and that guards refused to allow her spiritual adviser into the death chamber as she was put to death. 

Montgomery, 52, was put to death by lethal injection in the early hours of Wednesday morning after an 11th-hour order from the Supreme Court cleared the way for her execution despite arguments from her lawyers that she was not mentally competent and didn’t understand what was about to happen to her. 

Montgomery was convicted of kidnapping and strangling Bobbie Jo Stinnett, then eight months pregnant, in Missouri back in 2004. 

Montgomery then cut Stinnett’s fetus from her womb but the child miraculously survived and is now 16 years old.

The killer, dubbed the ‘womb raider, was convicted of the brutal slaying in 2007 and has been on death row ever since. 

She was pronounced dead at 1.31am EST on Wednesday at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana in what could be the final federal execution under Donald Trump.  

Montgomery’s lawyer Amy Harwell, who fought to get her a stay until her mental health could be evaluated, hit out at the ‘unconscionable’ move to plow ahead with her execution despite the questions around her mental state. 

She told the Huffington Post less than an hour after Montgomery’s death that the killer was ‘so not with us’ and ‘severely dissociated’ in the hours leading up to the execution.

‘Lisa’s baseline state is pretty severely dissociated. From the moment we got there today, she was very detached from reality, much more so even than we had ever experienced before,’ said Harwell.

‘One of the first things I said to her was, “Lisa you’re so far away from me. Can you get here with us?”

‘She was just so not with us.’

Harwell said Montgomery ‘was not following conversations’ or ‘processing the information I gave her’. 

Montgomery, executed early on January 13, was convicted in 2007 in Missouri for kidnapping and strangling 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett (pictured) who was eight months pregnant at the time

She strangled Stinnett with a rope before performing a crude cesarean and fleeing with the baby (right)

Montgomery was convicted in 2007 in Missouri for kidnapping and strangling 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett (left) who was eight months pregnant at the time. She strangled Stinnett with a rope before performing a crude cesarean and fleeing with the baby Victoria Jo (right)

‘At one point I asked her to repeat back to me what I just said, and she was not able to do that,’ she said, adding that she planned to use this as ‘proof’ for Montgomery’s mental health evaluation. 

Under the Eighth Amendment, the government is banned from executing an inmate if the individual cannot rationally understand why it is happening to them. 

On Monday night, the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana granted Montgomery a temporary stay for her mental health to be evaluated. 

Harwell described the ruling by US Judge James Patrick Hanlon as a ‘very well reaoned’ 28-page order.   

But the government appealed the decision and the stay was overturned by the Court Of Appeals Tuesday, paving the way for her execution. 

‘The idea that a judge says this rings the bell and somehow we don’t even get to go to court?’ Harwell said, slamming the move as ‘unconscionable’. 

Anti-death-penalty activists protest against the execution of Lisa Montgomery Tuesday

Anti-death-penalty activists protest against the execution of Lisa Montgomery Tuesday

Protesters outside the federal penitentiary. Montgomery's lawyer Amy Harwell hit out at the 'unconscionable' move to plow ahead with her execution despite the questions around her mental state

Protesters outside the federal penitentiary. Montgomery’s lawyer Amy Harwell hit out at the ‘unconscionable’ move to plow ahead with her execution despite the questions around her mental state

Aside from arguing the federal government executed a mentally ill woman, Harwell also blasted Montgomery’s treatment in the moments leading up to her death. 

She told Huffington Post Montgomery was denied her right to have her spiritual adviser John Francisco present in the chamber where he was going to sing to her as she was put to death.

‘He told her that after the execution started, he intended to sing “Jesus Loves Me” and “Amazing Grace” while the chemicals flowed. That was the plan,’ she said.

‘But when we arrived at the execution house, [Bureau of Prisons staff] did not allow him to be with her. 

‘I explained that he was her designated spiritual adviser and needed to be in the chamber with her. A woman said she’d go check, and then she came running back and said it was too late. Lisa was on the gurney, all strapped in.’

Harwell said Francisco, who had known Montgomery since she was a little girl, had given her communion and spoken to her in the hours before her death saying ‘he hoped to care for her while in the execution chamber’.

Instead, she said Montgomery was ‘deprived’ of this and Montgomery simply looked at them through the glass wiggling her fingers in a final wave. 

An artist's sketch of Montgomery at her first hearing in US Federal Court in Kansas City, Kansas, 2004. Harwell said Montgomery was 'deprived' of having her spiritual adviser John Francisco present in the death chamber where he was going to sing to her as she died

An artist’s sketch of Montgomery at her first hearing in US Federal Court in Kansas City, Kansas, 2004. Harwell said Montgomery was ‘deprived’ of having her spiritual adviser John Francisco present in the death chamber where he was going to sing to her as she died

‘It was a needless indignity, and a deprivation of really her basic humanity,’ said Harwell.

‘That in her final moments they tried to take her sense of herself as a loved child of God is an insult beyond comprehension.’

Harwell was speaking from a hotel where she said she learned that 65 of the government’s employees who ‘participated in tonight’s “event” – as they refer to it euphemistically’ were also staying. 

In an emotional statement released after Montgomery’s death, her team of attorneys said: ‘The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight.’   

Originally scheduled for 6pm on Tuesday, Montgomery’s execution was delayed after last-ditch appeals from her attorneys, who had argued that she was mentally incompetent and had suffered a lifetime of horrible sexual abuse. 

As a curtain was raised in the execution chamber early Wednesday morning, Montgomery looked momentarily bewildered as she glanced at journalists peering at her from behind thick glass. 

As the execution process began, a woman standing over Montgomery’s shoulder leaned over, gently removed Montgomery’s face mask and asked her if she had any last words. 

‘No,’ Montgomery responded in a quiet, muffled voice. She said nothing else. 

She tapped her fingers nervously for several seconds, displaying a heart-shaped tattoo on her thumb, but she otherwise showed no signs of distress, and quickly closed her eyes.   

The Department of Justice issued a new notice of execution, dated January 13, informing Montgomery that her death sentence would be carried out on January 13

The Department of Justice issued a new notice of execution, dated January 13, informing Montgomery that her death sentence would be carried out on January 13

Lisa Montgomery 's execution came in the final days of the government of US President Donald Trump, which pushed forward with her execution despite a legal battle

Lisa Montgomery ‘s execution came in the final days of the government of US President Donald Trump, which pushed forward with her execution despite a legal battle

LAST WOMEN EXECUTED BY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

Montgomery is the first woman to be executed by the federal government since 1953. 

In that year the government executed two women, Ethel Rosenberg for espionage on June 19, and Bonnie Heady for murder on December 18.

ETHEL ROSENBERG: 

In 1952, Ethel Rosen, 37, and her husband Julius, 35, were convicted of spying for the Soviet Union.

The pair were accused of providing the Communists with intelligence on radar, sonar, jet propulsion engines, and nuclear weapons.

Julius had worked for the Army Signal Corps but was fired in 1945 when they discovered his membership of the Communist Party USA.

But he continued to help the Soviets and recruited Ethel’s brother David Greenglass, who was working on the top-secret Manhattan Project.

Prosecutors admitted that their case against Ethel was ‘not too strong’, but believed it was ‘very important that she be convicted too, and given a stiff sentence.’

The pair were convicted at the height of the Cold War and executed together by electrocution at Sing Sing Correctional Facility on the Hudson River on June 19, 1953.

BONNIE HEADY: 

In September, 1953, Bonnie Heady, 41, and Carl Hall, 34, kidnapped a multimillionaire auto dealer’s six-year-old son in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Bobby Greenlease, son of Robert Greenlease Sr., was at Notre Dame de Sion that day, a Catholic school for small children.

Heady told the nuns she was Bobby’s aunt and urgently needed to take him home because his mother had fallen ill.

Sister Morand recalled how Bobby went with Heady without hesitation and the woman put her arm around the child’s shoulder and took hold of his hand. 

Heady and Hall, both drug-addicted alcoholics, then drove the child across state lines to Johnson County, Kansas.

Hall shot the boy dead with a revolver.

They then took the child’s corpse to Heady’s house in St. Joseph where they buried him in the backyard.

Afterwards they sent messages to Bobby’s father demanding $600,000.

Greenlease asked law enforcement not to interfere and paid out – the largest ransom ever paid in history at the time.

The killers collected the ransom money and fled to St Louis.

Hall later tried to flee with the cash, leaving $2,000 for Heady after she fell asleep drunk at the apartment they had rented.

A cab driver later tipped off the police to the whereabouts of Hall – who had travelled out to St Louis County in an attempt to bury the money.

Hall later led police to the apartment where Heady was staying in the city.

On November 19, a jury at the federal court in Kansas City recommended the death penalty after a little over an hour of deliberations.

Judge Albert L. Reeves remarked: ‘I think the verdict fits the evidence. It is the most coldblooded, brutal murder I have ever tried.’

The pair were executed together in Missouri’s lethal gas chamber at the State Penitentiary, Jefferson City, on December 18, 1953.

Montgomery’s gruesome crime unfolded when she introduced herself to her victim via an online chat room for rat terrier owners called Ratter Chatter.

She gave Stinnett, a 23-year-old dog breeder, a false name and pretended that she too was pregnant – the pair exchanged emails about their pregnancies. 

Montgomery then drove about 170 miles from her Melvern, Kansas, farmhouse to the northwest Missouri town of Skidmore in 2004.  

She arrived at Stinnett’s Missouri home on December 16 2004, under the guise that she was going to purchase a rat terrier puppy.

But Montgomery strangled the eight-months pregnant mother with a rope and then used a knife to cut her baby out of her womb before making off with the infant.   

The victim’s mother, Becky Harper, discovered her daughter lying in a pool of blood with her womb slashed open.

Sobbing, she told the 911 dispatcher: ‘It’s like she exploded or something.’

The killer was arrested at her home in Kansas the next day after showing off the premature infant, Victoria Jo, who survived and turned 16 last month. 

The girl has not spoken about the tragedy.

Montgomery was sitting in her living room holding the baby and watching the news when police entered her home – an amber alert for her arrest was flashing on the screen.   

‘As we walked across the threshold our Amber Alert was scrolling across the TV at that very moment,’ recalled Randy Strong, who was part of the northwest Missouri major case squad at the time.

He looked to his right and saw Montgomery holding the newborn and was awash in relief when she handed her over to law enforcement. 

Prosecutors said her motive was that Montgomery’s ex-husband knew she had undergone a tubal ligation that made her sterile and planned to reveal she was lying about being pregnant in an effort to get custody of two of their four children. 

Needing a baby before a fast-approaching court date, Montgomery turned her focus on Stinnett, whom she had met at dog shows.

Montgomery’s lawyers, though, have argued that sexual abuse during Montgomery’s childhood led to mental illness.   

In 2007, a jury convicted Montgomery and recommended the death penalty, which was upheld by the judge. 

Just before midnight on Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued an order removing the final legal barriers to the execution, and minutes later it became clear it was proceeding immediately as witnesses were moved to the execution area. 

The Department of Justice issued a new notice of execution, dated January 13, informing Montgomery that her death sentence would be carried out on January 13. 

Kelley Henry, Montgomery’s lawyer, in scathing remarks, called the execution a ‘vicious, unlawful, and unnecessary exercise of authoritarian power’.

‘Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should feel shame,’ Henry said in a statement. ‘The government stopped at nothing in its zeal to kill this damaged and delusional woman.’

‘No one can credibly dispute Mrs. Montgomery’s longstanding debilitating mental disease – diagnosed and treated for the first time by the Bureau of Prisons’ own doctors,’ Henry added. 

The Supreme Court ruling removed the final legal barriers to the execution, which Montgomery’s attorneys had hoped to delay until the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, a death penalty opponent.  

Some of Stinnett’s relatives traveled to Indiana to witness Montgomery’s execution, the Justice Department said. 

In Tuesday night’s ruling, the Supreme Court’s three liberal justices – Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan – dissented, saying they would grant the stay that Montgomery’s attorneys sought. 

Montgomery’s legal team says she suffered ‘sexual torture,’ including gang rapes, as a child, permanently scarring her emotionally and exacerbating mental-health issues that ran in her family.

At trial, prosecutors accused Montgomery of faking mental illness, noting that her killing of Stinnett was premeditated and included meticulous planning, including online research on how to perform a C-section.

Henry balked at that idea, citing extensive testing and brain scans that supported the diagnosis of mental illness.

Anti-death-penalty activist Glenda Breeden holds a lamp on Tuesday while protesting against the execution of Lisa Montgomery at Terre Haute Federal Prison

Anti-death-penalty activist Glenda Breeden holds a lamp on Tuesday while protesting against the execution of Lisa Montgomery at Terre Haute Federal Prison 

Henry said the issue at the core of the legal arguments are not whether she knew the killing was wrong in 2004 but whether she fully grasps why she was slated to be executed now.

Montgomery’s execution is the first of a woman a federal level since 1953. 

Following her execution, there are now 51 inmates on federal death row, all of them men.

She had originally been scheduled to be killed by lethal injections of pentobarbital, a powerful barbiturate, at 6pm EST on Tuesday, but last minute legal challenges delayed the execution. 

The St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of the execution on Monday, siding with her lawyers that the government had scheduled her execution in violation of the original sentencing court’s judgment issued in 2007. 

That stay was vacated by the Supreme Court late on Tuesday.

Separately, a federal judge on the 7th Circuit in Indiana had ordered the execution to be postponed to allow for a hearing on whether she was too mentally ill to be executed. 

‘The record before the Court contains ample evidence that Ms. Montgomery’s current mental state is so divorced from reality that she cannot rationally understand the government’s rationale for her execution,’ Judge Hanlon wrote in his ruling.

‘Both the (government) and the victims of crime have an important interest in the timely enforcement of a sentence,’ he said, citing precedent.

But ‘it is also in the public interest to ensure that the government does not execute a prisoner who due to her mental condition ‘cannot appreciate the meaning of a community’s judgement.”

But the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago overturned the stay on Tuesday afternoon. 

Montgomery’s lawyers asked the Supreme Court to overturn that ruling, which they declined.

Montgomery faced execution Tuesday at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, (pictured) Indiana , just eight days before President-elect Joe Biden , an opponent of the federal death penalty, takes office

Montgomery faced execution Tuesday at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, (pictured) Indiana , just eight days before President-elect Joe Biden , an opponent of the federal death penalty, takes office

Montgomery’s execution was one of three that were to supposed be the last before President-elect Joe Biden, an opponent of the federal death penalty, is sworn-in next week. 

Now following legal challenges it’s unclear how many additional executions there will be under President Donald Trump, who resumed federal executions in July after 17-year pause. Ten federal inmates have since been put to death. 

Separately from Montgomery’s case, a federal judge for the U.S. District of Columbia halted the scheduled executions later this week of Corey Johnson and Dustin Higgs in a ruling Tuesday. 

Johnson was convicted of killing seven people related to his drug trafficking in Virginia, and Higgs was convicted of ordering the murders of three women in Maryland. 

Both tested positive for COVID-19 last month, and a judge ruled they should be allowed to recover before facing execution. 

The last woman executed by the federal government was Bonnie Brown Heady on December 18, 1953, for the kidnapping and murder of a 6-year-old boy in Missouri.

The last woman executed by a state was Kelly Gissendaner, 47, on September 30, 2015, in Georgia. 

She was convicted of murder in the 1997 slaying of her husband after she conspired with her lover, who stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death.

Montgomery’s shocking crime: Killer strangled pregnant mother and stole her child through crude C-section 

In 2004, Montgomery drove about 170 miles from her Melvern, Kansas, farmhouse to the northwest Missouri town of Skidmore under the guise of adopting a rat terrier puppy from Bobbie Jo Stinnett, a 23-year-old dog breeder. 

She strangled Stinnett with a rope before performing a crude cesarean and fleeing with the baby. 

She was arrested the next day after showing off the premature infant, Victoria Jo, who survived and is now 16 years old and hasn’t spoken publicly about the tragedy.

In 2007, Montgomery was convicted of kidnapping resulting in death and handed a death sentence. She would have been the first woman executed by the federal justice system since 1953. 

‘As we walked across the threshold our Amber Alert was scrolling across the TV at that very moment,’ recalled Randy Strong, who was part of the northwest Missouri major case squad at the time.

He looked to his right and saw Montgomery holding the newborn and was awash in relief when she handed her over to law enforcement. 

The preceding hours had been a blur in which he photographed Stinnett’s body and spent a sleepless night looking for clues – unsure of whether the baby was dead or alive and no idea what she looked like.

But then tips began arriving about Montgomery, who had a history of faking pregnancies and suddenly had a baby. Strong, now the sheriff of Nodaway County, where the killing happened, hopped in an unmarked car with another officer. 

He learned while en route that the email address fischer4kids(at)hotmail.com that was used to set up the deadly meeting with Stinnett had been sent from a dial-up connection at Montgomery’s home.

Expectant mother Bobbie Jo Stinnett at a dog show

Zeb Stinnett and baby Victoria Jo Stinnett

Left: Expectant mother Bobbie Jo Stinnett at a dog show. Right:  Zeb Stinnett and baby Victoria Jo Stinnett, who was cut from her mother’s womb by Montgomery in the gruesome attack

A group shot from the dog show in Abilene, Kansas. Lisa Montgomery (second from left), Bobbi Jo (second from right) and Zeb Stinnett (far right) pose with their dogs

A group shot from the dog show in Abilene, Kansas. Lisa Montgomery (second from left), Bobbi Jo (second from right) and Zeb Stinnett (far right) pose with their dogs

‘I absolutely knew I was walking into the killer’s home,’ recalled Strong, saying rat terriers ran around his feet as he approached her house. Like Stinnett, Montgomery also raised rat terriers.

Bobbie Jo Stinnett’s mother, Becky Harper, sobbed as she told a Missouri dispatcher about stumbling across her daughter in a pool of blood, her womb slashed open and the child she had been carrying missing.

‘It’s like she exploded or something,’ Harper told the dispatcher on December 16, 2004, during the desperate yet futile attempt to get help for her daughter.

Prosecutors said her motive was that Montgomery’s ex-husband knew she had undergone a tubal ligation that made her sterile and planned to reveal she was lying about being pregnant in an effort to get custody of two of their four children. 

Needing a baby before a fast-approaching court date, Montgomery turned her focus on Stinnett, whom she had met at dog shows.

Montgomery’s lawyers, though, have argued that sexual abuse during Montgomery’s childhood led to mental illness. 

Attorney Kelley Henry spoke in favor of Monday’s decision, saying in a statement to the Capital-Journal that ‘Mrs. Montgomery has brain damage and severe mental illness that was exacerbated by the lifetime of sexual torture she suffered at the hands of caretakers.’

Montgomery, now 52, was abused by her stepfather, who built a room in the back of a trailer where they lived in which he and his friends raped her from about the age of 11, and where her mother pimped her for sex, Montgomery’s lawyers said. 

Montgomery suffered sexual abuse and torture at the hands of her stepfather and mother that Montgomery's lawyers and her sister, who was also raped in their childhood home, compared to a horror movie. In a nearly 7,000-page clemency petition filed earlier in January, they asked Trump to commute Montgomery's sentence to life in prison

Montgomery suffered sexual abuse and torture at the hands of her stepfather and mother that Montgomery’s lawyers and her sister, who was also raped in their childhood home, compared to a horror movie. In a nearly 7,000-page clemency petition filed earlier in January, they asked Trump to commute Montgomery’s sentence to life in prison

Diane Mattingly, Montgomery’s older sister, previously told reporters at a briefing that she was also repeatedly raped, sometimes with Montgomery in the same room, until authorities removed her to foster care.

‘So many people let her down,’ Mattingly 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.’ 

Her stepfather denied the sexual abuse in videotaped testimony and said he didn’t have a good memory when confronted with a transcript of a divorce proceeding in which he admitted some physical abuse. 

Her mother testified that she never filed a police complaint because he had threatened her and her children.

But the jurors who heard the case, some crying through the gruesome testimony, disregarded the defense in convicting her of kidnapping resulting in death.

Prosecutors argued that Stinnett regained consciousness and tried to defend herself as Montgomery used a kitchen knife to cut the baby girl from her womb. 

Later that day, Montgomery called her husband to pick her up in the parking lot of a Long John Silver’s in Topeka, Kansas, telling him she had delivered the baby earlier in the day at a nearby birthing center.

She eventually confessed, and the rope and bloody knife used to kill Stinnett were found in her car. A search of her computer showed she used it to research Cesareans and order a birthing kit.

Montgomery was convicted of killing 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett in the northwest Missouri town of Skidmore in December 2004. She used a rope to strangle Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, and then cut the baby girl from the womb with a kitchen knife, authorities said. Montgomery took the child with her and attempted to pass the girl off as her own, prosecutors said

Montgomery was convicted of killing 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett in the northwest Missouri town of Skidmore in December 2004. She used a rope to strangle Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, and then cut the baby girl from the womb with a kitchen knife, authorities said. Montgomery took the child with her and attempted to pass the girl off as her own, prosecutors said

Pictured: Demonstrators protest federal executions of death row inmates, in front of the US Justice Department in Washington, DC, on December 10, 2020

Pictured: Demonstrators protest federal executions of death row inmates, in front of the US Justice Department in Washington, DC, on December 10, 2020

Stinnett’s husband, Zeb, told jurors his world ‘crashed to an end’ when he learned his wife was dead. 

He said he didn’t return for months to the couple’s home in Skidmore, a small farming community that earlier gained notoriety after the 1981 slaying of town bully Ken Rex McElroy in front of a crowd of people who refused to implicate the killer or killers. 

That crime was chronicled in a book, ‘In Broad Daylight,’ as well as a TV movie, the film ‘Without Mercy’ and the miniseries ‘No One Saw a Thing.’

President-elect Joe Biden’s stance on the death penalty

After current president Donald Trump resumed the federal death penalty in 2020 – for the first time in 17 years – president-elect Joe Biden has signalled his intention to eliminate capital punishment at a federal level.

On Joe Biden’s website outlining the policies of the in-coming commander-in-chief, he instead proposes that individuals on death row should ‘serve life sentences without probation or parole.’

‘Over 160 individuals who’ve been sentenced to death in this country since 1973 have later been exonerated,’ his website says.

‘Because we cannot ensure we get death penalty cases right every time, Biden will work to pass legislation to eliminate the death penalty at the federal level, and incentivize states to follow the federal government’s example. 

‘These individuals should instead serve life sentences without probation or parole.’

Recently, on Victoria Jo’s birthday, he sent Strong, the sheriff, a message through Facebook Messenger thanking him.

‘I just wept,’ Strong recalled. ‘He is going to constantly be reminded of this whether in his nightmares or somebody is going to call and want to interview him. 

‘The family doesn’t want to be interviewed. They want to be left alone. The community of Skidmore has had a troubling past and history. They didn’t want this. They didn’t deserve this.’

Montgomery originally was scheduled to be put to death on Dec. 8. But the execution was temporarily blocked after her attorneys contracted the coronavirus visiting her in prison.

Without denying the seriousness of her crime, Montgomery’s lawyers last week sought clemency from US President Donald Trump.

But Trump, an outspoken supporter of the death penalty, has so far failed to act on their request. He has allowed more executions in a year than any other U.S. president has done since the 19th century.

Despite the decline of capital punishment in the US and around the world, Trump’s administration, revived the punishment in the federal system in 2020 after a 17-year hiatus even as the novel coronavirus spread to infect prison employees, inmates’ lawyers and two other inmates facing execution. 

Biden – who takes office on January 20 – has promised to work with Congress to try and abolish the death penalty altogether.

Biden spokesman TJ Ducklo has said the president-elect ‘opposes the death penalty now and in the future’ and would work as president to end its use. 

But Ducklo did not say whether executions would be paused immediately once Biden takes office.   

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