NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A federal judge has delayed the execution of the only woman on federal death row after two of her attorneys — Tennessee-based public defenders — contracted severe cases of COVID-19. 

Lisa Montgomery’s execution has been delayed until at least Dec. 31 under an order filed Thursday by U.S. District Judge Randolph D. Moss in Washington, D.C. A new date has not yet been set.

Assistant federal public defenders Kelley Henry and Amy Harwell, based in the Middle Tennessee District, asked the court to delay the execution after they each caught COVID-19 during last-ditch efforts to save Montgomery’s life.

Their symptoms have limited their ability to file a clemency petition to President Donald Trump, the court found. 

“The public’s interest in seeing justice done lies not only in carrying out the sentence imposed years ago but also in the lawful process leading to possible execution,” Moss wrote.



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