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Feds set December execution for woman who killed victim, cut baby from womb – first woman to be executed by feds in 60+ years

Police investigators search outside the home of Lisa and Kevin Montgomery in Melvern, Kansas, on December 17, 2004. Lisa M. Montgomery, was convicted in a kidnapping, resulting in death in the abduction of an eight-month-old fetus, and the killing of the mother, Bobbie Jo Stinnett. (Joe Ledford/The Kansas City Star/TNS)
October 20, 2020

Convicted killer Lisa Montgomery, who fatally strangled a pregnant woman and then sliced open her body, and kidnapped her unborn baby, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Dec. 8, according to federal authorities.

On Friday, Attorney General William P. Barr said Montgomery was one of two inmates scheduled to be executed. Barr said he directed the head of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to carry out the death penalty to take place at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Montgomery is the only woman on the federal government’s death row.

In October 2007, a federal jury found Montgomery guilty of one count of kidnapping resulting in death. Federal prosecutors said in December 2004, Montgomery killed Bobbie Jo Stinnett of Skidmore, Mo., as part of a premeditated murder-kidnap scheme.

According to prosecutors, Montgomery drove from her home in Melvern, Kansas, to Stinnett’s home, purportedly to purchase a puppy. However, once inside the residence, Montgomery attacked and strangled Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, until the victim lost consciousness.

Using a kitchen knife, Montgomery cut into Stinnet’s abdomen, causing her to regain consciousness. The two women fought and Montgomery then strangled Stinnett to death.

Montgomery then cut the fetus from her womb and tried to pass the baby off as her own. The child was later safely recovered.

Montgomery later confessed to killing Stinnett and abducting her unborn child. A federal jury in Kansas City unanimously recommended a death sentence.

The conviction and sentencing were later upheld on appeal.

Kelley Henry, an assistant federal public defender in Nashville and one of the attorneys who represented Montgomery, said her client had endured years of physical, sexual and mental abuse by her mother and others.

Montgomery suffers from complex post-traumatic stress disorder and to this day must maintain a complex regimen of anti-psychotic medications to control her episodic psychosis, Henry said in an email statement.

“In the grip of her mental illness, Lisa committed a terrible crime. Yet she immediately expressed profound remorse and was willing to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence with no possibility of release,” Henry said.

“Lisa Montgomery has long accepted full responsibility for her crime, and she will never leave prison,” she said. “But her severe mental illness and the devastating impacts of her childhood trauma make executing her a profound injustice.”


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