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Demonstrators protest federal executions of death row inmates in Washington, D.C. Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday granted Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row, a stay of execution just hours before she was scheduled to die by lethal injection at a federal prison complex in Indiana.

The state of play: Judge James Hanlon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana temporarily halted the execution so that a hearing could be held to determine Montgomery's mental competence. A date for the hearing has not yet been set, per CNN.

The big picture: Federal executions had been stalled for 16 years, until the Trump administration resumed federal capital punishment in July.

  • Montgomery was one of three inmates the Department of Justice scheduled to be executed this week, days before the inauguration of President-elect Biden, who is against the federal death penalty.

What they're saying: "The Court was right to put a stop to Lisa Montgomery's execution," Kelley Henry, one of Montgomery's attorneys, said, according to CNN.

  • "The Eighth Amendment prohibits the execution of people like Mrs. Montgomery who, due to their severe mental illness or brain damage, do not understand the basis for their executions."
  • "Mrs. Montgomery is mentally deteriorating and we are seeking an opportunity to prove her incompetence."

Background: Montgomery was convicted in 2004 for the murder of a woman who was 8-months pregnant at the time, cutting her baby out of her stomach and kidnapping it. The baby survived.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Lisa Montgomery first female inmate to be executed in U.S. in nearly 70 years

Demonstrators protest federal executions of death row inmates, in front of the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., in December. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Lisa Montgomery became on Wednesday the first female inmate to be executed since 1953, per AP.

The big picture: The 52-year-old Kansas woman was declared dead at 1:31am after having a lethal injection at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, following a Supreme Court ruling late Tuesday.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

1 dead after pickup truck hits Pride spectators in Florida

Police investigate the scene where a pickup truck drove into a crowd of people at a Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

A driver in a pickup truck hit spectators at a Pride festival in Wilton Manors, Florida, killing a man and leaving another person hospitalized Saturday, authorities said.

Details: Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told reporters police had "apprehended the driver" and that the vehicle missed a parade car carrying Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) "by inches."

Updated 8 hours ago - Sports

Uganda Olympic team member tests positive for COVID in Tokyo

The Uganda National boxing team's Catherine Nanziri (L) and others arrive for check-in at Entebbe international airport in Wakiso, Uganda on Friday, ahead of their departure to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games. Photo: Badru Katumba/AFP via Getty Images

A Uganda Olympic team member tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Japan late Saturday, officials said.

Why it matters: Japan's government has faced criticism for vowing to host the Tokyo Games next month as coronavirus cases rise. The Ugandan team is the second to arrive in Japan after the Australian women's softball players, and this is the first COVID-19 infection detected among the Olympic athletes, Al Jazeera notes.

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