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Trump authorized executions before leaving office. But, asks TOM LEONARD, is it barbaric?


The crime for which Lisa Montgomery was sentenced to death is as terrible as you can imagine.

In December 2004, she strangled a pregnant dog breeder, Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who pretended to be interested in one of her puppies, and used a kitchen knife to cut her baby out of the belly, which she then passed off as her own.

Montgomery had told friends and family that she was pregnant but was arrested a day later and the baby was returned to the victim's husband, alive and well.

One might well conclude that no woman in her right mind would do this, and that she was certainly deeply concerned. However, a Missouri jury rejected convincing evidence that Montgomery was seriously mentally ill after a dire life of incest, rape, child prostitution and forced sterilization imposed on her husband, who was also her stepbrother was.

As a result, she was found guilty and sentenced to death.

Trump (pictured) has planned more executions than any other president for at least a century after the death penalty was reinstated in July. His administration has carried out more than twice as many executions as America in the past three decades

Her execution was delayed when one of her lawyers signed Covid-19, but she is now believed to be – on Jan. 12 – the first woman in 67 years to be killed by federal justice as one of the last acts of President Donald Trump.

Those opposed to the death penalty claim that it was ultimately doomed not by the evidence of its case, but by Donald Trump's sadistic determination to execute as many people as possible on death row while he is president.

She is not alone. Four other prisoners had been hired to execute in the final days of the presidency – two of whom have since been killed – in what critics have dubbed "a death row rampage."

Last Friday, child killer Alfred Bourgeois became the tenth inmate of 2020 to be executed by the federal government – Montgomery is believed to be the eleventh – since the Trump administration ended a 17-year hiatus earlier this year.

A government that has insisted on law and order is doing everything it can to bring "justice" to victims of the most terrible crimes before Joe Biden, who has pledged to let the death penalty run out, on January 20th takes over the reins.

In December 2004, Lisa Montgomery strangled a pregnant dog breeder, Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who pretended to be interested in one of her puppies, and used a kitchen knife to cut her baby out of the belly, which she then passed off as her own

In December 2004, Lisa Montgomery strangled a pregnant dog breeder, Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who pretended to be interested in one of her puppies, and used a kitchen knife to cut her baby out of the belly, which she then passed off as her own

Trump has planned more executions than any other president for at least a century after the death penalty was reinstated in July. His administration has carried out more than twice as many executions as America in the past three decades.

Not only does Trump's administration, in the final weeks of his presidency, encourage officials to use methods of execution that are widely condemned as barbaric.

His Justice Department recently released new rules that extend the permitted methods of execution to include electric shock, poison gas, hanging, and even death by firing squads when a lethal injection is not feasible or the necessary drugs are not available.

The wording also suggests that a judge can designate another state to carry out the execution if the state where the crime was committed does not have the death penalty.

So many of Trump's bragging rights – from his "record" initiatory crowd to his "record" economy – have proven hollow, but he seems sure to be stepping into the record books for the number of executions he has in his final Months in office.

Most presidents spend this time finding people to pardon them, but Trump – determined to execute ten people a year, more than any other president this or last century – seems to be doing the opposite.

When convicted murderer Orlando Hall was executed last month, it was the first federal execution during a "transitional period" between one president and the next since 1889.

As an 18-year-old gang member involved in a double homicide in Texas in 1999, Brandon Bernard was one of the youngest people to ever receive the federal death sentence passed last week

As an 18-year-old gang member involved in a double homicide in Texas in 1999, Brandon Bernard was one of the youngest people to ever receive the federal death sentence passed last week

But it's clearly a policy that appeals to Trump's grassroots who have never wavered in their support for the final sanction, leading to allegations that he used inmates' lives as political football.

While just over half of US states have the death penalty in their law books, far fewer actually make much use of it. However, the Trump Justice Department can order the execution of those convicted of federal crimes in the United States (for example, Lisa Montgomery was convicted of "fatal kidnapping," a federal offense).

The last five on his death list

With Lisa Montgomery, four more must or were executed before Trump leaves. The death penalty should be reserved for the “worst of the worst”. But are they?

As an 18-year-old gang member involved in a double homicide in Texas in 1999, Brandon Bernard was one of the youngest people to ever receive the federal death sentence passed last week.

Dustin Higgs, 48, was found guilty of the kidnapping and murder of three women by a Maryland court in 2000, despite his accomplice pulling the trigger. Scheduled to run on January 15th.

In 1993, 45-year-old Cory Johnson was convicted of the murder of seven people killed by his drug gang in Virginia. The victims of his 45-day shooting spree included suspected informants, rival traders and people alleged to have insulted gang members. One victim was stabbed 85 times and another 16 times. His lawyers argue that Johnson must be spared because he is mentally retarded due to abuse and neglect he experienced as a child. Scheduled to run on January 14th.

Alfred Bourgeois, 56, was convicted in Texas for the murder of his two-year-old daughter in 2002. The court heard the truck driver sexually abuse and torture her before banging her head against the window of his taxi. His attorneys cited his low IQ as evidence that he was "mentally retarded," which made his execution unconstitutional. Before dying from a fatal injection on Friday, he insisted on being innocent and asked God to forgive those who "planted false evidence."

There are currently 52 offenders on federal death row, most of them in Terre Haute, Indiana.

As in the states, the preferred method of execution of the federal system is lethal injection, usually through a dose of a drug cocktail that first calms the prisoner and then stops the heart.

In the 1980s, fatal injections began to replace the electric chair, to reconcile executions with the US Constitution's prohibition on "cruel and unusual" punishment, just as "The Chair" replaced hanging in the late 19th century would have.

A spate of cases of convicted prisoners apparently in agony after the injection caused drug manufacturers to refuse to deliver them and the juries hesitated to call for the death penalty.

The Trump administration has tried to circumvent drug shortages by using a single one – pentobarbital, a widely used sedative often used to euthanize pets – for executions.

However, not everyone is convinced that this is a suitable method. Lawyers say it can cause a respiratory disease known as flash pulmonary edema, where fluid quickly floods the lungs.

Whatever the public's concerns about pentobarbital, they are nothing compared to widespread disgust among activists that the US could once again shoot, hang, or electrocute people.

Nine states still approve the electric chair as an alternative to execution, eleven allow fatal gas, while three are hanging and three are dying by shooting a squad in their books.

Capital punishment experts say that given the locations of current federal death row inmates, the most likely of these gruesome alternatives would be electrocution, as 17 inmates committed their crimes in states where it is an execution method. Deadly gas would be the next most likely.

Oklahoma is the only firing state with prisoners on federal death row, but it's a last resort that can only be used after ruling out the other three options.

The US is still the only country in the world that uses the electric chair, but Tennessee is the only state that still regularly uses Old Sparky.

Five men have died there since 2018, strapped to a wooden chair, a metal skullcap-shaped electrode that covers the head and another electrode that is attached to an ankle. You will then receive two long bursts of 1,750 volts.

Although death should be instantaneous, it is a notoriously gruesome spectacle – sometimes several feet of flames leap from the convict's mask-covered head as his overheated body swells and turns bright red. Experts say it's not painless, mainly because the current puts the muscles in uncontrollable and excruciating spasms.

The firing squad method was used in the mid-19th century.

In 1993, 45-year-old Cory Johnson was convicted of the murder of seven people killed by his drug gang in Virginia. The victims of his 45-day shooting spree included suspected informants, rival traders and people alleged to have insulted gang members

In 1993, 45-year-old Cory Johnson was convicted of the murder of seven people killed by his drug gang in Virginia. The victims of his 45-day shooting spree included suspected informants, rival traders and people alleged to have insulted gang members

Dustin Higgs, 48, was found guilty of the kidnapping and murder of three women by a Maryland court in 2000, despite his accomplice pulling the trigger. Scheduled to run on January 15th

Dustin Higgs, 48, was found guilty of the kidnapping and murder of three women by a Maryland court in 2000, despite his accomplice pulling the trigger. Scheduled to run on January 15th

The convicted person is usually hooded and strapped into a chair, with a white sheet tied over the heart that either five or eight shooters must shoot at the same time.

Up to three members of the squad will fire spaces so none of them can be certain that they fired the deadly bullet.

Lethal gas, supposedly a humane method, was first adopted by Nevada in 1922 and last used in 1999. The prisoner sits in an airtight room and hydrogen cyanide gas is pumped in.

Again, unconsciousness and death should be painless, but witnesses have reported seeing eyes popping and skin turning purple.

A more recent variant – nitrogen asphyxiation (which basically deprives the body of oxygen) has been advocated by three states as possibly the most painless method of execution, but it is too early to say whether it could replace injections.

Opponents of the death penalty, who say more than 70 percent of the world's countries have scrapped the practice – including all of the US's close allies – had hoped America could soon follow suit. But it certainly won't be that long before Trump is in the White House.

Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, said of the president's grim final hurray, "It's a pretty cruel way to go out."

Alfred Bourgeois, 56, was convicted in Texas for the murder of his two-year-old daughter in 2002. The court heard the truck driver sexually abuse and torture her before banging her head against the window of his taxi

Alfred Bourgeois, 56, was convicted in Texas for the murder of his two-year-old daughter in 2002. The court heard the truck driver sexually abuse and torture her before banging her head against the window of his taxi

Trump's enthusiasm for the death penalty is little new, dating back at least to 1989 when five young black and Latin American men were arrested for the vicious rape of a woman in Central Park, New York.

Mr Trump paid for a full-page ad in the New York Times calling for the death penalty to be brought back. Bring our police back! “In this case, the five were serving their prison terms to be exonerated after a fellow inmate confessed.

Trump rarely mentioned the death penalty in the 2016 campaign, but has since called for the death penalty for child molesters and even for Afghan veteran Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban in 2009 after leaving his post and held for five years before being released in As part of a prisoner exchange.

Although 54 percent of Americans still believe the death penalty is morally acceptable, that number is shrinking in the face of a series of overturned beliefs and missed lethal injections.

The number of executions in the United States fell in 2016 to its lowest level in 25 years. Some formerly notorious "hang & # 39; em high" states have not carried out a death sentence in decades.

As in the UK, scientific advances like DNA analysis have compounded that hesitation by removing false beliefs. Since 1973, around 172 people who have been placed on death row have been relieved and released.

It was found that even Joe Biden, who pledged to end the death penalty at the federal level and convince states to remove it from their own law books, took pride in crime in the 1990s.

And even Barack Obama failed to keep his promise to use the president's power generously to pardon criminals.

Now death row inmates are desperately hoping they can hold out for a few days before the Democrats get back to the White House.

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