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Lethal injection of Dustin Higgs, the last federal execution under the Trump Administration was carried out this Saturday in Indiana | The State

The US government reactivated executions at the federal level in July after a 17-year hiatus.

Photo:
Mike Simons / Getty Images

Dustin Higgs, a prisoner on death row in Indiana, died this Saturday in the last federal execution carried out under the government of the outgoing president Donald trump.

Higgs was sentenced to capital punishment for ordering the murder of three women in the Washington, DC area in 1996. Until the last moment before his death, the African American insisted on his innocence.

“I would like to say that I am an innocent man,” he said, mentioning the three victims by name. “I did not order the killings,” he added.

Higgs passed away at 01:23 local time (06:23 GMT) after receiving the lethal injection.

Federal execution number 13 since July

This is the 13th execution since July, when the US government reactivated this procedure at the federal level after a 17-year hiatus, the BBC network report says.

The Trump Administration has faced numerous criticisms for the speed with which it has carried out these procedures, regardless of the impending transition of power.

The facts

Higgs was convicted and sentenced to death in 2001 for overseeing the 1996 abduction and murder of Tanji Jackson, Tamika Black and Mishann Chinn.

The women were on a date with Higgs and two other men in an apartment, when one rejected their advances and started an argument.

Higgs and his accomplice Willis Haynes offered to drive them to the house. However, the men moved them to a wildlife refuge in Maryland, where Higgs gave Haynes a gun and told him to shoot at three.

Haynes, who confessed to being the shooter, was sentenced to life in prison in a separate trial.

Request for clemency to Trump

In the clemency petition sent to Trump, the lawyers of the already executed argued: “It is arbitrary and unfair to punish Higgs more severely than the real murderer.”

Higgs was the third to die in Terre Haute Federal Prison this week. Last Wednesday she was executed Lisa montgomery, the only woman on federal death row.

On Thursday, he was executed Corey Johnson, another African American convicted of killing seven people in 1992, in Virginia, in connection with drug trafficking.

“The government completed its unprecedented massacre of 13 human beings tonight by killing Dustin Higgs, a black man who never killed anyone, on Martin Luther King’s birthday,” Shawn Nolan, one of the attorneys for the President, said in a statement. convicted.

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Dustin Higgs heads to the death chamber in the 13th and final federal execution of Trump’s term

Dustin John Higgs, 48, is due to be executed by lethal injection on Friday

The federal execution of convicted murderer Dustin John Higgs has been carried out, marking the final death sentence to be completed by the Department of Justice under President Donald Trump.

Higgs, 48, was pronounced dead at 1.23am on Saturday after receiving a lethal injection of pentobarbital in the federal death chamber at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. 

Higgs conspired with two other men to kidnap and murder three young women in Washington DC in one night in January 1996. 

His lawyers have argued it is ‘arbitrary and inequitable’ to execute Higgs while Willis Haynes, the man who pulled the trigger in the murders, was spared a death sentence. In his final words, Higgs protested that he was innocent of masterminding the murders. 

‘I’d like to say I am an innocent man,’ he said, strapped to the gurney in the execution chamber. ‘I did not order the murders.’

As the injection was administered, louds sobs of a woman crying inconsolably echoed for several minutes from a room reserved for Higgs’ family, as his eyes rolled back in his head, showing the whites of his eyes before he stopped moving entirely.

It marked the third federal execution at Terre Haute in four days, and the 13th during Trump’s term after he resumed executions in July despite the pandemic, making him the most prolific president in carrying out death sentences since Grover Cleveland in the 1800s. Higgs and an inmate executed on Thursday, Corey Johnson, both had COVID-19 when they were put to death.

The United States Penitentiary at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana is seen on Friday

The United States Penitentiary at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana is seen on Friday

The interior of the execution chamber in the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute is seen above. Higgs was strapped to the gurney and injected with pentobarbital, a powerful barbiturate

The interior of the execution chamber in the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute is seen above. Higgs was strapped to the gurney and injected with pentobarbital, a powerful barbiturate

An activist in opposition to the death penalty protests during a snowstorm outside of the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana on Thursday

An activist in opposition to the death penalty protests during a snowstorm outside of the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana on Thursday

The recent spree of executions is also the first time since Celveland’s term that a federal execution was carried out during the lame-duck period of a presidency. 

Trump resumed federal executions in July after a 17-year hiatus, although they had still been carried out at the state level. 

President-elect Joe Biden is an opponent of the death penalty and is expected to suspend federal executions when he takes office next week. 

The federal judge who presided over Higgs’ trial two decades ago says he ‘merits little compassion.’

‘He received a fair trial and was convicted and sentenced to death by a unanimous jury for a despicable crime,’ U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte wrote in a December 29 ruling.

Defense attorneys won temporary stays of execution this week for Higgs and another inmate, Corey Johnson, after arguing that their recent COVID-19 infections put them at greater risk of unnecessary suffering during the lethal injections. 

But higher courts overruled those decisions, allowing the executions to go forward, and Johnson was executed Thursday night. 

Shawn Nolan, one of Higgs’ attorneys, sees a clear political agenda in the unprecedented string of federal executions at the end of Trump’s presidency, with Higgs heading to the death chamber just five days before Biden’s inauguration. 

Trump has overseen 13 executions after he resumed executions in July despite the pandemic, making him the most prolific president in carrying out death sentences since Grover Cleveland

Trump has overseen 13 executions after he resumed executions in July despite the pandemic, making him the most prolific president in carrying out death sentences since Grover Cleveland

Higgs is seen in 2015 at the Federal Prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. Higgs is the last federal inmate facing execution before President Donald Trump leaves office

Higgs is seen in 2015 at the Federal Prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. Higgs is the last federal inmate facing execution before President Donald Trump leaves office

‘In the midst of the pandemic and everything that´s going on right now in the country, it seems just insane to move forward with these executions,’ Nolan said recently. ‘And particularly for Dustin, who didn’t shoot anybody. He didn’t kill anybody.’

Higgs’ Dec. 19 petition for clemency says he has been a model prisoner and dedicated father to a son born shortly after his arrest. Higgs had a traumatic childhood and lost his mother to cancer when he was 10, the petition says.

‘Mr. Higgs’ difficult upbringing was not meaningfully presented to the jury at trial,’ his attorneys wrote. 

His death sentence was the first imposed in the modern era of the federal system in Maryland, which abolished the death penalty in 2013. 

Higgs’ shocking crimes: Conspired to kidnap and kill three women after an argument during a triple-date

In October 2000, a federal jury in Maryland convicted Higgs of first-degree murder and kidnapping in the killings of Tamika Black, 19; Mishann Chinn, 23; and Tanji Jackson, 21.

Higgs was 23 on the evening of January 26, 1996, when he, Willis Haynes and a third man, Victor Gloria, picked up the three women in Washington, DC, and drove them to Higgs’ apartment in Laurel, Maryland, to drink alcohol and listen to music. 

The men smoked pot late into the night, and before dawn the next morning an argument between Higgs and Tanji prompted her to grab a knife in the kitchen before Haynes persuaded her to drop it.

‘I am going to get you all f***ed up or robbed!’ Tanji shouted, according to Gloria’s testimony. In response, Higgs remarked to the other men that Tamika ‘do know a lot of n*****s.’

As Tamika left the apartment with the other women, she appeared to write down the license plate number of Higgs’ van, angering him, and the three women stormed off on foot. 

The three men chased after the women in Higgs’ van, a blue Mazda MPV. Haynes persuaded them to get into the vehicle.

Instead of taking them home, Higgs drove them to a secluded spot in the Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge, federal land in Laurel.

Higgs drove the three women to a secluded spot in the Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge (seen in a file photo) and handed his friend Willis Haynes a gun to kill them

Higgs drove the three women to a secluded spot in the Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge (seen in a file photo) and handed his friend Willis Haynes a gun to kill them

‘Aware at that point that something was amiss, one of the women asked if they were going to have to `walk from here´ and Higgs responded ‘something like that,” said an appeals court ruling upholding Higgs’ death sentence.

Higgs handed his pistol to Haynes, who shot all three women outside the van before the men left, Gloria testified.

‘Gloria turned to ask Higgs what he was doing, but saw Higgs holding the steering wheel and watching the shootings from the rearview mirror,’ said the 2013 ruling by a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Investigators found Jackson’s day planner at the scene of the killings. It contained Higgs’ nickname, ‘Bones,’ his telephone number, his address number and the tag number for his van.

The jurors who convicted Haynes failed to reach a unanimous verdict on whether to impose a death sentence. A different jury convicted Higgs and returned a death sentence after a separate trial. Gloria pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the murders and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Higgs has argued that his death sentence must be thrown out because jurors failed to consider it as a ‘mitigating factor’ that Haynes was convicted of identical charges but sentenced to life in prison. 

The appeals court concluded that rational jurors could find that Higgs had the dominant role in the murders even though Haynes indisputably was the triggerman.

An activist in opposition to the death penalty protests during a snowstorm outside of the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana on Thursday ahead of Higgs' execution

An activist in opposition to the death penalty protests during a snowstorm outside of the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana on Thursday ahead of Higgs’ execution

In their clemency petition, Higgs´ lawyers said Gloria received a ‘substantial deal’ in exchange for his cooperation

‘Moreover,’ they wrote, ‘significant questions remain as to whether Mr. Gloria received the additional undisclosed benefit of having an unrelated state murder investigation against him dropped at the urging of federal officers to protect his credibility as the star witness. A federal death verdict should not rest on such a flimsy basis.’

Mishann worked with the children’s choir at a church, Tanji worked in the office at a high school and Tamika was a teacher’s aide at National Presbyterian School in Washington, according to the Washington Post.

On the day in 2001 when the judge formally sentenced Higgs to death, Tamika’s mother, Joyce Gaston, said it brought her little solace, the Post reported.

‘It’s not going to ever be right in my mind,’ Gaston said, ‘That was my daughter. I don’t know how I’m going to deal with it.’

How Trump used his final days to put to death the most federal prisoners since the 1880s

The number of federal death sentences carried out under Trump since 2020 is more than in the previous 56 years combined, reducing the number of prisoners on federal death row by nearly a quarter. 

It’s likely none of the around 50 remaining men will be executed anytime soon, with Biden signaling he’ll end federal executions.

The only woman on death row, Lisa Montgomery, was executed Wednesday for killing a pregnant woman, then cutting the baby out of her womb and claiming it as her own. She was the first woman executed in nearly 70 years.

Federal executions began as the coronavirus pandemic raged through prisons nationwide. Among those prisoners who got COVID-19 last month were Higgs and former drug trafficker Corey Johnson, who was executed Thursday. 

Some members of the execution teams have also previously tested positive for the virus.

Not since the waning days of Grover Cleveland’s presidency in the late 1800s has the U.S. government executed federal inmates during a presidential transition, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. 

Cleveland´s was also the last presidency during which the number of civilians executed federally was in the double digits in one year, 1896, during Cleveland´s second term.

The Trump administration has paid private executioners in cash and bought drugs from a secret pharmacy as part of a rush to execute federal prisoners, court documents obtained by ProPublica reveal. 

The court records, were reported in December, shed light on how the Trump administration is hurrying to use its final days to execute the federal inmates. 

Among the details included in court records are that private executioners have been paid in cash, drugs have been purchased from a pharmacy that failed quality tests and that executions have moved ahead in the middle of the night.

It is not clear why private contractors were hired to carry out the executions. A Bureau of Prisons lawyer was quoted in a deposition saying: ‘If we didn’t pay them in cash they probably wouldn’t participate’. 

One execution has gone ahead while an appeal was still pending.

Authorities also left Daniel Lewis Lee, who was the first federal inmate executed in July, strapped to a gurney while lawyers tried to remove a Supreme Court order, the court documents show. 

He was executed as soon as the government lawyers wiped out the legal obstacle. 

‘Today, Lee finally faced the justice he deserved,’ Barr said in a statement at the time. 

The White House has not commented on ProPublica’s report regarding the rush to execute the inmates. 

In a statement, the Justice Department said: ‘Seeking the death penalty and carrying out capital sentences is not a political issue, nor have political considerations influenced the department’s decisions. 

‘The death penalty is a law enforcement and public safety issue, and the department is obligated to carry forward these sentences regardless of who is the president or the attorney general.’    

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Canada

Indiana family faces deportation for having too many children

An American family in Schererville, northern Indiana, is at risk of being evicted from their home for having too many children.

The couple with two children took possession of the premises in 2017 with a lease stipulating that a maximum of two people could sleep in each of the two bedrooms of the condo.

However, the family has grown in the meantime with two more babies and is threatened with eviction, despite being up to date with the rent payment.

These are the two babies who put the family in violation of the terms of the lease, CBS reported Wednesday.

“The police have never been here. I didn’t do anything wrong, apart from having two more babies, ”mother Deborah Rangel told American media.

Rangel’s family has been given a one-month deadline, who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic that did not spare Indiana.

This US state did not extend the moratorium on evictions despite the health crisis.

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Headline USA

They execute Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on death row convicted of murdering a pregnant woman and taking her baby | The State

Lisa Montgomery was sentenced to the federal death penalty in 2004.

Photo:
Wyandotte County Sheriff / EFE

WASHINGTON – The state of Indiana today executed Lisa montgomery, the only woman on death row in the United States, and the first to be executed in more than six decades.

The execution by lethal injection occurred at the Terre Haute prison complex, after the Supreme court lift the suspension that a federal court had ordered just hours before.

Lawyer alleges constitutional violation

“Our Constitution prohibits the execution of a person who cannot rationally understand his execution (…). The current administration knows this. And they killed her anyway, “denounced her lawyer Kelley Henry in a statement released by the media.

“Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should be ashamed,” he added.

Lisa Montgomery, 52, was convicted in 2007 of killing a 23-year-old woman who was eight months pregnant in 2004 and extracting her baby, which was later recovered safe and sound by authorities.

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Federal government executes womb raider killer Lisa Montgomery

Lisa Montgomery, 52, was pronounced dead at 1.31am EST on Wednesday

The only woman on federal death row has been executed by lethal injection after an 11th-hour order from the Supreme Court cleared all legal obstacles to carrying out her death sentence.

Lisa Montgomery, 52, 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 President Donald Trump. 

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 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.

Montgomery’s attorneys last night blasted the execution in an emotional statement, saying: ‘The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight.’ 

As a curtain was raised in the execution chamber on Wednesday, 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. 

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.  

Protesters in opposition to the death penalty gathered to protest the execution of Lisa Montgomery outside the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana on Tuesday

Protesters in opposition to the death penalty gathered to protest the execution of Lisa Montgomery outside the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana on Tuesday

The order just before midnight on Tuesday allows the execution of Lisa Montgomery to proceed, removing the final legal barriers in the case

Bobbie Jo Stinnett

Lisa Montgomery (left), executed early on January 13, was convicted in 2007 in Missouri for kidnapping and strangling Bobbie Jo Stinnett (right)

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

Montgomery had introduced herself to her victim via an online chat room for rat terrier owners called Ratter Chatter.

She gave Stinnett a false name and pretended that she too was pregnant – the pair exchanged emails about their pregnancies.

Montgomery 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 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.

She was sitting in her living room holding the baby and watching the news – 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 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.

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.

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 

Montgomery, 52, 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.   

Developing story, more to follow.

Categories
Technology US

Bethesda is making an Indiana Jones game

Bethesda’s next project is a big surprise: today, the publisher teased a new Indiana Jones game.

While we don’t know anything about the title just yet — the announcement was simply a brief teaser video — it’s being developed by MachineGames, the same studio behind the Wolfenstein franchise. Bethesda boss Todd Howard will serve as executive producer. The title is being made under the new Lucasfilm Games label, which was announced yesterday as part of a renewed focus on games from Disney and Lucasfilm.

While details are slim, Disney says that “the game will tell a wholly original, standalone tale set at the height of the career of the famed adventurer.” The teaser video hints that the game will take place in Rome.

There’s no word yet on when the game will release or what platforms it will be on. At this point, it doesn’t even have a full title.

Categories
Headline USA Politics

Appeals Court revalidates execution of Lisa Montgomery on January 12 for taking a baby from a pregnant woman | The State

Lisa Montgomery was sentenced to the federal death penalty.

Photo:
Wyandotte County Sheriff / EFE

Lisa montgomery, the woman condemned to the death penalty at the federal level for murdering a pregnant woman in Missouri and taking her baby, will be executed by lethal injection before the president-elect Joe Biden officially take office.

A panel of three judges from the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, concluded that the district judge, Randolph Moss, he was wrong when he struck down Montgomery’s execution date in an order last week.

The convict, who is the only woman on federal death row, will be executed on January 12, according to the Associated Press report.

Moss ruled that the Department of Justice irregularly rescheduled Montgomery’s execution and overturned an order from the director of the Bureau of Prisons scheduling his death for that date at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Initially, Montgomery’s execution was scheduled for last December. But Moss delayed the process after the woman’s attorneys contracted coronavirus and asked her to extend the time to file a clemency petition.

The appeals panel, asked by attorney Meaghan VerGow to review the request, disagreed with the district judge’s decision.

Montgomery is serving a capital sentence for killing Bobbie Jo Stinnett, 23 years old, in Skidmore, Missouri, in December 2004. The condemned woman strangled the victim, who was eight months pregnant, with a rope and then extracted the girl from the uterus with a knife. The baby survived.

Montgomery’s defense has argued that her client suffers from serious mental illness due to the pattern of physical and sexual violence she suffered from as a child.

UN objection

A panel of the United Nations (UN) he recently spoke out against the execution of the woman, now 52 years old.

The entity raised through the group that the defendant’s history of mental trauma was not presented during her trial in 2007 as extenuating circumstances for her sentence.

“Ms. Montgomery was the victim of an extreme level of physical and sexual abuse throughout her life against which the state never provided protection and for which it did not offer solutions,” said the UN panel through a press release from the UN Office for Human Rights, OHCHR.

“Ms. Montgomery was subjected to multiple rapes from the age of 11 and forced into prostitution at 15. She later married and was subjected to further abuse, some of which is captured on video. She had four children before being pressured to have her sterilized against her will. By the age of 34, he had moved 61 times. As a result of the trauma he experienced, he developed several serious mental conditions for which he did not have access to treatment ”, they add.

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Categories
Headline USA

Sister of Delphi murder victim holds out hope her sibling’s killer will be found in 2021

The older sister of Libby German, one of the two girls who were murdered in Delphi, Indiana, in 2017, is hoping that 2021 will be the year the killer is finally caught. 

Kelsi German took to Twitter on Sunday to wish her younger sister ‘a happy heavenly birthday.’ Liberty ‘Libby’ German would have turned 18 year old on that day.   

‘You’re having the most glorious birthday, but we wish you were here celebrating with us. I miss you tons,’ Kelsi wrote. ‘Praying 2021 is the year. #abbyandlibby #letssolvethis.’

Kelsi German wished her murdered younger sister, Liberty ‘Libby’ German, a ‘happy heavenly birthday’ on December 27, when she would have turned 18 

Libby German

Abby Williams

Libby German (left) was 14 years old when she and her friend, 13-year-old Abigail ‘Abby’ Williams (right), were kidnapped and killed in Delphi, Indiana, in February 2017 

This man in blue jeans and a blue jacket is believed to be a suspect in the girls' murders

This man in blue jeans and a blue jacket is believed to be a suspect in the girls’ murders 

Kelsi has been studying forensic psychology at Purdue University in hopes of tracking down the person who kidnapped and killed her then-14-year-old sister and her 13-year-old friend, Abigail ‘Abby’ Williams, as the girls were walking over an abandoned railroad bridge in Delphi in February 2017. 

A photo of a man in blue jeans and a blue jacket believed to be the girls’ killer was found on Libby’s phone, along with audio recording on which the suspect is heard saying, ‘Down the hill.’  

Nearly four years after the double homicide, no suspects have been named and no arrests have been made, but officials with the Indiana State Police have repeatedly insisted that the murders have not turned into a ‘cold case.’ 

‘We’re still working very hard on this case. It’s not something that we’ve put off. It’s not a cold case,’ Sgt. Kim Riley, of the Lafayette Post of the Indiana State Police, said in February of this year.  

A memorial park dedicated to Libby and Abby is scheduled to open in Delphi early next year. 

‘We’ve always said this is a legacy of life,’ Diane Erskin, Abby’s grandmother, told WTHR this month. ‘We don’t want headstones. That’s not what we had planned for them. Plans of life and growing up, and so they’re not going to be here physically, but spiritually and emotionally. This will be the place where we think of Abby and Libby the most, I think.’ 

Libby and Abby were hiking on the Monon High Bridge, an abandoned rail bridge over Deer Creek in Delphi, Indiana, on February 13, 2017, when they were vanished

Libby and Abby were hiking on the Monon High Bridge, an abandoned rail bridge over Deer Creek in Delphi, Indiana, on February 13, 2017, when they were vanished 

Video found on Libby's phone showed the suspect walking in the area

Audio recording captured a man's voice saying, 'Down the hill'

Video found on Libby’s phone showed the suspect walking in the area. Audio recording captured a man’s voice saying, ‘Down the hill’ 

On February 13, 2017, at approximately 1pm, Kelsi German dropped off her sister and Abby near the Monon High Bridge, an abandoned rail bridge over Deer Creek to walk around and hang out. 

They were to be picked up later in the afternoon, but did not show up there at the previously arranged time and were reported missing. Less than 24 hours later, the girls’ bodies were found in a wooded area near the Delphi Historic Trail, approximately one-half mile upstream from the bridge.

The following day, law enforcement officers released a grainy photo of the unidentified man in the blue jacket walking on the Delphi Historic Trail. 

Kelsi German, Libby's sister, has been studying forensic psychology to help catch the killer

Kelsi German, Libby’s sister, has been studying forensic psychology to help catch the killer

Libby had posted photos of herself on Snapchat walking on the bridge on the day she and Abby vanished.

Authorities also released the ‘down the hill’ audio recording, which Kelsi said she had listened to on repeat and was convinced the man’s voice sounded familiar.

The images and audio came from Liberty’s cellphone and police hailed her as a hero for recording the potentially crucial evidence.

Categories
Headlines UK

Temples of swoon: The stunning cliffside monasteries that look like sets from Indiana Jones movies

Temples of swoon: The stunning gravity-defying cliffside monasteries that look like sets from Indiana Jones movies

  • St George’s Monastery juts out of a cliff in a desert gorge around 35 minutes by car from Jerusalem 
  • Highlights of the monastery include the gorge views, two churches, a cave chapel and the relics of monks  
  • The monastery at the Mount of Temptation clings to the contours of a cliff at an elevation of 1,150ft

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If you want 2021 to have that Indiana Jones feel to it, here are a couple of sights to put on your bucket list for when it’s safe to travel again – St George’s Monastery near Jerusalem and the Monastery of the Temptation overlooking Jericho.

They both look like they could be sets from the Spielberg movies.

St George’s Monastery juts out of the side of an eye-catching cliff in the 21-mile-long Wadi Qelt gorge, roughly a 35-minute drive from Jerusalem in the direction of Jericho. 

The Monastery of the Temptation, overlooking Jericho, is a breathtaking feat of engineering that clings to the contours of a cliff at an elevation of 1,150ft (350m)

Wadi you know: St George’s Monastery juts out of the side of a cliff in the Wadi Qelt valley, near Jerusalem. It was founded by monks in the 5th century

Wadi you know: St George’s Monastery juts out of the side of a cliff in the Wadi Qelt valley, near Jerusalem. It was founded by monks in the 5th century

Visitors who want a challenge can follow a three-hour hiking route from Jerusalem through the Wadi Qelt valley to reach the monastery

Visitors who want a challenge can follow a three-hour hiking route from Jerusalem through the Wadi Qelt valley to reach the monastery

It was founded in the caves of the cliff face by monks in the 5th century, who apparently chose the spot because the prophet Elijah was said to have been fed by ravens in a cave nearby in 9 BC.

It’s had a chequered history since then – after becoming an important spiritual centre in the sixth century, it was sacked by the Persians in the seventh century. 

Restoration commenced in The Crusader period and has continued in fits and starts ever since. 

Today, it’s open to visitors, who have a number of options for reaching the site from Jerusalem.

Visitors who want a challenge can follow a three-hour hiking route through the Wadi Qelt valley. 

Those who want an easier life can take a taxi or drive to the car park close to the site and take a steep but far shorter walk downhill to the monastery.    

The monastery has clocked up a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor. One reviewer explained: 'It's impressive, it's amazing and is something one will not easily forget'

The monastery has clocked up a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor. One reviewer explained: ‘It’s impressive, it’s amazing and is something one will not easily forget’

Once at the summit of the site, visitors can explore two churches - the Church of the Holy Virgin and the Church of St. George and St. John - which are rich in mosaics and paintings

Once at the summit of the site, visitors can explore two churches – the Church of the Holy Virgin and the Church of St. George and St. John – which are rich in mosaics and paintings

Once at the summit of the site, visitors can explore two churches – the Church of the Holy Virgin and the Church of St. George and St. John, which are rich in mosaics and paintings. 

They can also visit the cave-church of St. Elijah and the bell tower that was added in the 1950s. Plus, they can see the relics of the resident monks that were killed during the Persian raid centuries ago.

The monastery has clocked up a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on Tripadvisor. One reviewer explained: ‘It’s impressive, it’s amazing and is something one will not easily forget.’

Another visitor said: ‘The silence of the desert, the beauty of the location, the spiritual atmosphere of this place is spellbinding and overwhelming.’ 

The Mount of Temptation, a short drive away, is where Jesus resisted the Devil’s temptations, according to Biblical scriptures. 

The monastery there – also known as the Monastery of the Qurantul – is a breathtaking feat of engineering that clings to the contours of a cliff at an elevation of 1,150ft (350m).

Reaching it these days is a cinch thanks to a modern cable car that terminates near the entrance and aside from the spiritual allure, visitors are treated to amazing views across the Dead Sea to Jordan.  

Hermits and monks have lived on the Mount of Temptation in natural caves since the early centuries of Christianity. This is an alley at the monastery there

Hermits and monks have lived on the Mount of Temptation in natural caves since the early centuries of Christianity. This is an alley at the monastery there

A fresco in the Monastery of Temptation, which evolved from a chapel built in the 4th century

A fresco in the Monastery of Temptation, which evolved from a chapel built in the 4th century

Hermits and monks have lived on the mountain in natural caves since the early centuries of Christianity, according to www.seetheholyland.net, with a monastery evolving from a 4th-century chapel.

The current building was constructed in the 19th century around the cave where Jesus is said to have fasted. 

And the all-important Tripadvisor rating? Also 4.5 out of five on average, with one user, ‘walkleytravellers’, declaring the site ‘unique and photogenic’. 

A modern cable car transports visitors to the entrance of the monastery on the Mount of Temptation

A modern cable car transports visitors to the entrance of the monastery on the Mount of Temptation

The Monastery of the Temptation has been described as 'unique and photogenic'

The Monastery of the Temptation has been described as ‘unique and photogenic’

Categories
Headline USA New York

Hospital CEO under fire for saying black doctor who died of COVID ‘intimidated her nursing team’ 

A hospital CEO is under fire after accusing a black doctor of ‘intiminating’ nursing staff two weeks after she died from COVID-19.

Dr. Susan Moore, 52, died on Sunday due to complications from COVID-19 at Indiana University North Hospital. Two weeks earlier, she had posted a viral video where she said she was being denied pain medication by a white physician.

She was first diagnosed with COVID-19 on November 29. Since then, she had been admitted to the Indiana University North Hospital.

While lying in a hospital bed and connected to an oxygen tube, Moore, who was struggling to speak, posted a video on Facebook on December 4 in which she accused the white doctor who was treating her of downplaying her complaints of pain.

Her death raised serious questions about her treatment, and Dennis Murphy, CEO of Indiana University North Hospital, issued a statement defending his staff and promising an investigation.

He also speculated that, as a doctor, she may have ‘intimidated’ the nurses. 

Dennis Murphy, CEO of IU Health, has sparked anger with his description of Moore

Dr. Susan Moore, 52, died on Sunday due to complications from COVID-19

Her death comes more than two weeks after she posted a viral video on Facebook saying that she was not given adequate medical care while hospitalized at Indiana University North in Carmel, Indiana

Dr. Susan Moore, 52, died on Sunday due to complications from COVID-19. Her death comes more than two weeks after she posted a viral video on Facebook saying that she was not given adequate medical care while hospitalized at Indiana University North in Carmel, Indiana

She was first diagnosed with COVID-19 on November 29. In the Facebook video, Moore said that medical staff at IU North waited hours before giving her desperately needed pain medication

She was first diagnosed with COVID-19 on November 29. In the Facebook video, Moore said that medical staff at IU North waited hours before giving her desperately needed pain medication

Murphy said he ‘saw several human perspectives in the story she told – that of physicians who were trying to manage the care of a complex patient in the midst of a pandemic crisis where the medical evidence on specific treatments continues to be debated in medical journals and in the lay press.’ 

He continued: ‘And the perspective of a nursing team trying to manage a set of critically ill patients in need of care who may have been intimidated by a knowledgeable patient who was using social media to voice her concerns and critique the care they were delivering. 

‘All of these perspectives comprise a complex picture.’ 

His comments sparked an immediate backlash.

Erika Nicole Kendall, a personal trainer, took issue with the idea of ‘a complex patient’.

‘Whenever you need to evade accountability, always start with the most accessible stereotype available,’ she said. 

‘This statement screams ‘she was an Angry Black woman.”

Dr Theresa Chapple, a public health advocate, said she felt ‘gaslit’ by the hospital’s explanation.

Uché Blackstock, an activist for health equity, spoke about the case on MSNBC, to acclaim from social media.

‘Tragic story of #DrSusanMoore,’ said one woman.

‘Everyone I know has a story about begging for pain meds after major surgery while ‘other’ patients given excess pills.’ 

Moore said in the seven-and-a-half-minute video that despite her complaints to medical staff that she was in pain, the doctors wanted to discharge her from the hospital.

She also said in the video that the doctors were dismissive of her complaints that she was experiencing difficulty breathing.

It was only after scans and tests proved her right that the doctors believed her.

A spokesperson for the IU Health system told DailyMail.com: ‘IU Health President and CEO Dennis Murphy has published a letter to all who have reached out and shown concern for the care of Dr. Susan Moore.

Moore said she was given inadequate treatment by Dr. Eric Bannec (above)

Moore said she was given inadequate treatment by Dr. Eric Bannec (above)

‘Murphy has called for a third-party review with a diverse panel of healthcare and diversity experts to understand both the technical aspects of the care provided and the human elements of the patient experience.

‘He says the external review can also illuminate ways the system can live up to its commitment to the equitable treatment of all patients.

‘IU Health has a commitment to enhance a culture of inclusion that seeks, welcomes and values all people and will conduct anti-racism, anti-bias civility and respect training for every team member.’ 

Murphy said that while he doesn’t believe ‘that we failed the technical aspects of the delivery of Dr. Moore’s care,’ he acknowledged that ‘we may not have shown the level of compassion and respect we strive for in understanding what matters most to patients.’

In the video, Moore said that she was being given inadequate medical care due to her race.

‘This is the second worst day here at IU North,’ Moore says in the video from December 4.

‘Yesterday, Dr. [Eric] Bannec wanted to send me home.

‘At that time I had only received two treatments of the remdesivir. He says: ‘Ah, you don’t need it. You’re not even short of breath’.’

Moore continued: ‘I said, ‘Yes, I am’.’

‘Then he went on to say: ‘You don’t qualify.’

‘I must’ve because I’ve gotten two treatments,’ Moore said.

‘Then, he further stated: ‘You should just go home right now. And I don’t feel comfortable giving you anymore narcotics.’

‘I was in so much pain from my neck,’ she said. ‘My neck hurt so bad.’

‘I do not believe that we failed the technical aspects of the delivery of Dr. Moore’s care’: Statement by Indiana University Health

Dennis M. Murphy, the president and CEO of IU Health, said medical staff treating Dr. Moore at IU North could have shown more 'compassion and respect'

Dennis M. Murphy, the president and CEO of IU Health, said medical staff treating Dr. Moore at IU North could have shown more ‘compassion and respect’

Like many others, I have watched the video of Dr. Susan Moore that she posted from her bed at our hospital. I am deeply saddened by her death and the loss her family is feeling. 

Our hearts are with Dr. Moore’s family and friends.

I am even more saddened by the experience she described in the video. 

It hurt me personally to see a patient reach out via social media because they felt their care was inadequate and their personal needs were not being heard.

I also saw several human perspectives in the story she told – that of physicians who were trying to manage the care of a complex patient in the midst of a pandemic crisis where the medical evidence on specific treatments continues to be debated in medical journals and in the lay press. 

And the perspective of a nursing team trying to manage a set of critically ill patients in need of care who may have been intimidated by a knowledgeable patient who was using social media to voice her concerns and critique the care they were delivering. 

All of these perspectives comprise a complex picture. 

At the end of the day, I am left with the image of a distressed patient who was a member of our own profession – one we all hold dear and that exists to help serve and better the lives of others. 

These factors make this loss doubly distressing.

After our preliminary medical quality review, I am fully confident in our medical team and their expertise to treat complex medical cases. 

I do not believe that we failed the technical aspects of the delivery of Dr. Moore’s care. 

I am concerned, however, that we may not have shown the level of compassion and respect we strive for in understanding what matters most to patients. 

I am worried that our care team did not have the time due to the burden of this pandemic to hear and understand patient concerns and questions.

There is still much that we need to learn through internal review. 

Additionally, I am asking for an external review of this case. 

We will have a diverse panel of healthcare and diversity experts conduct a thorough medical review of Dr. Moore’s concerns to address any potential treatment bias. 

The construct of this review is to understand how we improve on not only the technical aspects of care, but also the more humanistic elements of the patient experience. 

The external review also can illuminate ways that we as a system can ensure we live up to our commitment to the equitable treatment of all patients.

Over the last several years, I have pledged to promote racial justice and resist discrimination of any kind at IU Health. 

My commitment to this pledge is reinforced as I repeatedly think about Dr. Moore’s voice. 

I also have listened to the voices and experiences of our team members and patients of color over the past year. 

They have shared experiences of discrimination by patients, families and colleagues. 

They also shared their hopes for how IU Health could model for others how to be a more diverse, inclusive and just organization. 

Dr. Moore’s public sharing of her experience is a sentinel moment to accelerate our forward movement. 

This tragedy will not become a statistic in the COVID-19 crisis and it will serve as a marker of material improvements for patients of color.

Our organization is committed to equity. We know the work before us and will continue to seek regular improvements to what has been a long-standing societal issue. 

We will focus on enhancing a culture of inclusion that seeks, welcomes and values all people. 

We will transform our organization to be more diverse, equitable and anti-discriminatory. 

And we will build meaningful and sustained partnerships to promote healthcare equity and reduce healthcare disparities, impact social determinants of health, and build more inclusive communities throughout the state.

None of this work was ever imagined to be easy or without visible signs of failure. 

The key is to learn meaningfully from each interaction and, ultimately, get better every step of the way. 

Dr. Moore’s words and image will stay with me every day and fuel my motivation to ensure that this organization becomes truly equitable in all dimensions. 

I hope it serves as a collective call to action.

Respectfully,

Dennis M. Murphy

President and Chief Executive Officer

Indiana University Health  

Moore said that Bannec and the medical staff at IU Health North (above) did not believe her when she told them that she was in pain and needed medication.

Moore said that Bannec and the medical staff at IU Health North (above) did not believe her when she told them that she was in pain and needed medication.

When Bannec told her he would not give her pain medication, Moore said: ‘I was crushed.’

‘He made me feel like I was a drug addict,’ she said. ‘And he knew I was a physician.’

Moore added: ‘I don’t take narcotics. I was hurt.’

She said she was ‘left wanting’ after speaking to a patient advocate who told her: ‘There’s not much I can do.’

Moore said she then asked to be sent to another hospital ‘if they’re not going to treat me properly.’

She said that she was then administered a CT scan of her neck and lungs which showed inflammation in those areas, confirming her earlier complaints of pain and discomfort.

Those scans finally convinced the doctors to give her pain medication.

‘You have to show proof that you have something wrong with you in order for you to get the medicine,’ Moore said.

Moore, a physician who lived in Indianapolis, leaves behind a 19-year-old son and her two parents, both of whom are suffering from dementia

Moore, a physician who lived in Indianapolis, leaves behind a 19-year-old son and her two parents, both of whom are suffering from dementia

‘I put forth and I maintain if I was white, I wouldn’t have to go through that.’

Moore added: ‘That man (Bannec) never came back and apologized.’

She then said that it took staff more than four hours to administer pain medication treatment.

‘I have been in pain since 7am, you know,’ Moore told the nurse.

‘I can’t be here every five minutes,’ the nurse is reported to have responded to Moore.

‘No, you were here once in four hours,’ Moore said.

‘That is not how you treat patients,’ she said. ‘Period.’

‘I don’t trust this hospital and I’m asking to be transferred.’

Moore also said that Bannec told her that if she stayed in the hospital she would eventually be discharged at 10pm the next Saturday.

‘Who does that?’ Moore said of being sent home from the hospital late at night.

When the nurse told Moore that she was ‘marching in Black Lives Matter,’ Moore responded: ‘I told her that I don’t believe none of that. Not one bit. Not one iota.’

Moore's death was confirmed by her 19-year-old son, Henry Muhammed (pictured left with his mother)

Moore’s death was confirmed by her 19-year-old son, Henry Muhammed (pictured left with his mother)

‘He wouldn’t even know how to march,’ Moore said of the nurse. ‘[He] probably can’t even spell it.’

‘This is how black people get killed, when you send them home and they don’t know how to fight for themselves,’ she said.

‘I had to talk to somebody, maybe the media, somebody, to let people know how I’m being treated up in this place.’

Moore said that the physician who treated her knew that she was a doctor.

‘[Bannec] didn’t want the black doctor to have no medicine,’ she said. ‘Nothing.’

Moore then said that the nurse bragged that it was ‘because of him’ that she was getting pain medication.

She later posted an update on Facebook saying that she had spoken to the IU healthcare system’s chief medical officer and that her pain was being ‘properly managed.’

Moore said the CMO ‘stated that there will be some diversity training’ and that they were ‘working on’ getting an apology from Bannec.

After she was sent home by IU North, she was back in a different hospital – Ascension-St. Vincent in Carmel, Indiana – within 12 hours on December 7.

Moore said she experienced a spike in temperature and a drop in her blood pressure.

On her Facebook page, Moore described having to 'beg' the doctors to give her medicine to treat the pain in her neck

On her Facebook page, Moore described having to ‘beg’ the doctors to give her medicine to treat the pain in her neck

She accused the medical staff at IU Health North of 'trying to kill' her

She accused the medical staff at IU Health North of ‘trying to kill’ her

After she was sent home by IU North, she was back in a different hospital - Ascension-St. Vincent (above) in Carmel, Indiana - within 12 hours on December 7. Moore said she experienced a spike in temperature and a drop in her blood pressure

After she was sent home by IU North, she was back in a different hospital – Ascension-St. Vincent (above) in Carmel, Indiana – within 12 hours on December 7. Moore said she experienced a spike in temperature and a drop in her blood pressure

‘Spiked a temperature of 103 and my blood pressure plummeted to 80/60 with a heart rate of 132,’ she wrote in an update on Facebook.

‘Those people were trying to kill me,’ Moore said of the medical staff at IU North.

‘Clearly everyone has to agree they (discharged) me way too soon.’

She gave a much better assessment of her care at Ascencion-St. Vincent.

‘They are now treating me for a bacterial pneumonia as well as Covid pneumonia,’ she said.

‘I am getting very compassionate care. They are offering me pain medicine.’

On December 10, Moore’s condition deteriorated to the point where she had to be intubated. She died on Sunday, two days after she was placed on a ventilator.

Moore’s 19-year-old son, Henry Muhammed, confirmed his mother’s death to The New York Times.

He said that by the time his mother was placed on a ventilator, she was coughing so much that she could barely speak.

When doctors intubated her on December 10, they set up a Zoom call in her room so a dozen relatives could speak to her while she lay unconscious.

On Twitter, there was outrage in reaction to Moore's death. Danielle Doyle said Moore was 'gaslit and stigmatized when asking for effective pain medication'

On Twitter, there was outrage in reaction to Moore’s death. Danielle Doyle said Moore was ‘gaslit and stigmatized when asking for effective pain medication’

Another Twitter user wrote that 'HOW she died is unacceptable'

Another Twitter user wrote that ‘HOW she died is unacceptable’

A woman who says that she was a classmate of Moore at the University of Michigan said that 'we must all pay attention and make this better'

A woman who says that she was a classmate of Moore at the University of Michigan said that ‘we must all pay attention and make this better’

'Black people are still being mistreated by the healthcare system, even those who WORK WITHIN the system,' tweeted one Twitter user

‘Black people are still being mistreated by the healthcare system, even those who WORK WITHIN the system,’ tweeted one Twitter user

Dr. Carmen Brown wrote: 'She had to advocate for herself and was STILL ignored.'

Dr. Carmen Brown wrote: ‘She had to advocate for herself and was STILL ignored.’

A GoFundMe crowdfunding effort started for Moore's family has already raised more than $120,000

A GoFundMe crowdfunding effort started for Moore’s family has already raised more than $120,000

Doctors who followed Moore’s case from afar cannot definitively say that the claims of inadequate treatment at IU North directly led to her death.

Still, observers said her experience at the hospital is an all-too common occurrence for African American patients, many of whom do not get adequate care.

Muhammed also told the Times that his mother suffered from an underlying condition – sarcoidosis.

He said his mother was frequently admitted to the hospital to be treated for the condition, which is an inflammatory disease that attacks the lungs.

Muhammed said that his mother routinely needed to struggle to get adequate care whenever she was ill.

‘Nearly every time she went to the hospital she had to advocate for herself, fight for something in some way, shape or form, just to get baseline, proper care,’ he said.

In the United States, black people and Latinos are almost three times more likely to die from COVID-19 then whites, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention (CDC), which cited economic disparities. 

A GoFundMe crowdfunding effort started for Moore’s family has already raised more than $120,000.