General Information

Death Penalty: Yes
Date of Reinstatement (following Furman v. Georgia): March 1, 1974
Location of Death Row/Executions: Montana State Prison, Deer Lodge

Capital: Helena
Population: 989,415
Governor: Steve Bullock
Legislative Information: Senate
House of Representatives


Death Sentences 1994-2012

DPIC's State Database for information on executions, death row population and other statistics in Montana
History of the Death Penalty

Pompeys Pillar National Monument.  Photo by Montana Bureau of Land Management.

History of the Death Penalty

Notable cases

The execution of Duncan McKenzie by lethal injection in 1995 was the first execution by a method other than hanging in Montana.

Notable Commutations/clemencies

In 1988, David Cameron Keith was granted clemency by Gov. Ted Schwinden. Reasons reportedly included Keith's partial paralysis and blindness, remorse, religious conversion, and the possibility that he may have shot the victim as a reflex action.

Milestones in abolition/reinstatement

Bills to abolish the death penalty passed the Montana Senate in 2009 and 2011, but were defeated in the state House Judiciary committee each time.

Other interesting facts

Hanging was the method of execution in Montana until 1995 (lethal gas was added in 1983 but never used), although the last hanging in Montana occurred in 1943.  In 1995, Montana adopted lethal injection as the sole method of execution.

Montana was one of the last states to move executions from local authorities to centralized state administration.


Department of Corrections

Montana Abolition Coalition

Montana County Attorneys Association

Public defender's office

Victims' services


 More State Pages | DPIC's State Database | Submit Information for this State Page