Justice Dept. Plans 3 Executions Before Biden’s Inauguration

Even before Justice Barrett’s confirmation, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority has been unreceptive this year to requests to delay the executions.

Federal executions during a transition of power are extremely unusual, according to Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. He said that presidents have generally deferred to the incoming administration.

“This is another part of the Trump legacy that’s inconsistent with American norms,” he said. “If the administration followed the normal rules of civility that have been followed throughout the history in this country, it wouldn’t be an issue. The executions wouldn’t go forward.”

The Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment about the timing of the executions.

Each of three inmates, who are to be put to death by lethal injection at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., was implicated in a gruesome crime. Mr. Hall was convicted of “kidnapping resulting in death,” among other offenses, after he and several accomplices who ran a marijuana trafficking operation kidnapped, raped and buried alive a 16-year-old girl in 1994, according to the Justice Department.

Brandon Bernard, 40, was among a group that murdered two youth ministers on the Fort Hood military reservation in 1999, the Justice Department said. The federal government executed one of his accomplices in the case, Christopher Vialva, in September. Mr. Bernard was 18 at the time of the crimes.

The government also plans to execute Ms. Montgomery, 52, who would be the first woman to be executed by the federal government in nearly 70 years. She was convicted of kidnapping resulting in death in 2007, after she strangled a pregnant woman and abducted the unborn child, the Justice Department said.

Lawyers for Ms. Montgomery said she was a victim of sex trafficking and sexual abuse as a child. She suffers from bipolar disorder and complex post-traumatic stress disorder in addition to hallucinations, psychosis, mania and depression, according to a court filing from her lawyers.


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