According to court documents Lisa Montgomery had struck up a friendship with Bobbi Jo Stinnett over dog shows and on a website regarding rat terriers.
Soon the two women were emailing each other and Lisa Montgomery would tell Bobbi Jo Stinnett that she was pregnant as well and the two women would discuss their pregnancies (Lisa Montgomery was not pregnant.)
On December 16, 2004 Lisa Montgomery would go over to Bobbi Jo Stinnett house and strangle the woman to death. Montgomery would cut the fetus from the woman’s body and fled from the home.
Bobby Jo Stinnett mother would discover her an hour later and would call paramedics however they were unable to revive her.
Lisa Montgomey would tell her husband that she had gone into labor and given birth. Police would arrest Montgomery at her home the next day.
Lisa Montgomery would go on trial, be convicted and sentenced to death. On January 13, 2021 Lisa would be executed by lethal injection
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Lisa Montgomery, 52, was executed by lethal injection at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, and pronounced dead at 1:31 a.m. Wednesday.
Lisa Montgomery was the first woman to be executed by the federal government since 1953 and was the only woman on death row.The Supreme Court denied a last-ditch effort late Tuesday by her defense attorneys who argued that she should have been given a competency hearing to prove her severe mental illness, which would have made her ineligible for the death penalty.
She was the 11th federal death row inmate to be executed by the Trump administration after a 17-year hiatus in federal executions.”The government stopped at nothing in its zeal to kill this damaged and delusional woman,” her attorney, Kelley Henry, said in a statement. “Lisa Montgomery’s execution was far from justice.”Montgomery’s attorneys, family and supporters had pleaded with President Donald Trump to read their clemency petition and make an executive decision to commute her sentence to life without the possibility of parole.
Lisa Montgomery was sentenced to death in 2008 by a Missouri jury for the 2004 murder of a pregnant woman, cutting the fetus out and kidnapping it. The baby survived.
A federal judge granted Montgomery a stay of execution Tuesday for a competency hearing — just hours before she was scheduled to be executed.”The Court was right to put a stop to Lisa Montgomery’s execution,” Henry said in a statement. “As the court found, Mrs. Montgomery ‘made a strong showing’ of her current incompetence to be executed. 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.””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,” Henry added.But the Supreme Court denied the effort and pleas to President Trump were unsuccessful.
Two more executions are scheduled this week, for Corey Johnson on Thursday and Dustin Higgs on Friday. Both of their executions have been halted by a federal court judge as the men are still recovering from Covid-19. Prosecutors intend to appeal the ruling on Higgs and Johnson, according to court documents.
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Lisa Montgomery, a convicted killer who strangled a pregnant woman in 2004 and then cut the unborn baby from her womb, was executed in a federal prison in Indiana early Wednesday. She was the first woman executed in the federal system in nearly seven decades.
Lisa Montgomery, 52, was pronounced dead at 1:31 a.m. Wednesday after receiving a lethal injection at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said.
Earlier Wednesday, the Supreme Court lifted an appeals court stay that had blocked the execution, and it denied a request for a stay filed by Montgomery’s attorneys that raised mental illness concerns.
“The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight,” Kelley Henry, an attorney for Montgomery, said in a statement.
Henry has said that Lisa Montgomery suffered from severe mental illness that was “exacerbated by the lifetime of sexual torture she suffered at the hands of caretakers,” and her lawyers sought a chance to prove her incompetence.
The execution comes in the waning days of the Trump administration, which in 2019 announced plans to carry out the first federal executions in 17 years. President-elect Joe Biden has suggested he would put a moratorium on the federal death penalty.
Lisa Montgomery was initially set to be executed in December, but the date was delayed after her attorneys, who are based in Nashville, Tennessee, contracted the coronavirus amid traveling to Texas and working on her case.
The spread of Covid-19 across prisons, including at the Indiana facility where all federal executions take place, contributed to increased criticism over the resumption of the federal death penalty last year, even as states put a halt to executions.
With Wednesday’s lethal injection, the Trump administration has put 11 people to death over the past seven months, the most executions in a presidential lame-duck period in more than 130 years.
Montgomery’s execution, which had been planned for Tuesday, was one of three scheduled by the Department of Justice this week.
In a ruling Tuesday, Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled to stay the two other federal executions, those of Dustin Higgs and Corey Johnson.
Johnson, convicted of killing seven people related to drug trafficking in Virginia, and Higgs, convicted of ordering the murders of three women in Maryland, both tested positive for Covid-19 last month.
Chutkan wrote in her decision that it is not in the public interest to execute the two men.
In December 2004, Lisa Montgomery, then 36 and living in Kansas, crossed state lines to the Missouri home of Bobbie Jo Stinnett, whom she had met at a dog show, federal prosecutors said. Stinnett was eight months pregnant.
Lisa Montgomery strangled Stinnett with a rope and used a kitchen knife she had brought from home to remove the fetus, according to court documents. The baby girl survived. Montgomery tried to pass her off as her own, but was quickly arrested and later convicted by a jury and sentenced unanimously to death.
Lisa Montgomery had been incarcerated in an all-female federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, where staff is trained to deal with mental health issues. Her lawyers said that they weren’t arguing that she didn’t deserve to be punished, but rather that the jury never fully learned of her severe mental illnesses as diagnosed by doctors.
In a nearly 7,000-page clemency petition filed this month, her lawyers say her mother’s alcoholism caused her to be born brain-damaged and “resulted in incurable and significant psychiatric disabilities.” They also detailed Montgomery’s claims of physical abuse, rape and torture at the hands of her stepfather and others and being sex trafficked by her mother.
“Everything about this case is overwhelmingly sad,” the petition says. “As human beings we want to turn away. It is easy to call Mrs. Montgomery evil and a monster, as the Government has. She is neither.”
Diane Mattingly, an older sister of Lisa Montgomery, told reporters last week that she, too, suffered sexual abuse in the home before being placed in foster care. She has been vocal in recent months that her sister’s life should be spared.
“I went into a place where I was loved and cared for and shown self-worth,” Mattingly said. “I had a good foundation. Lisa did not, and she broke. She literally broke.”
In October, the Justice Department described the case as an “especially heinous” murder. The Missouri community where her victim had lived gathered last month to remember Stinnett, with some expressing support for Montgomery’s execution.
The U.S. government last executed a female inmate in 1953, when Bonnie Brown Heady of Missouri was put to death for the kidnapping and murder of a young boy in a ransom plot
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Lisa Montgomery Execution
Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row, died by lethal injection early Wednesday after the Supreme Court vacated several lower-court rulings, clearing the way for her to become the first female prisoner to be put to death by the U.S. government since 1953.
It was midnight when the Supreme Court ended a day of legal challenges, setting aside what Department of Justice attorneys called “unwarranted” obstacles to the execution of Montgomery for a “crime of staggering brutality.” By 1:31 a.m. ET Wednesday, she was pronounced dead.
Just ahead of Montgomery’s execution at the Federal Corrections Complex in Terre Haute, Ind., her attorney, Kelley Henry, said her client’s death by lethal injection was far from justice, as no other woman who had committed a similar crime faced the death penalty.
In 2004, Lisa Montgomery drove from Kansas to Missouri, ostensibly to purchase a puppy from Bobbie Jo Stinnett, a 23-year-old dog breeder who was eight months pregnant. Instead, Montgomery strangled her, cut her fetus from her womb and tried to pass the surviving baby off as her own.
Four years later, she was sentenced to death.
Until Montgomery’s death overnight Wednesday, it had been nearly 70 years since a woman on federal death row had been executed.
The execution followed an intense, 11th-hour, court battle over Montgomery’s fate.
U.S. District Judge Patrick Hanlon in Indiana granted a stay of execution, citing the need to determine whether she was too mentally ill to be executed.
On Tuesday, an appellate court in Chicago reversed that decision, paving the way for the execution to go forward. But in a separate ruling, an appeals court in Washington, D.C., blocked the execution to give time for hearings on whether the Department of Justice had given sufficient notice of Montgomery’s execution date, which was set for Tuesday. The Department of Justice challenged that ruling.
A whiplash of legal challenges and decisions continued throughout the day until the Supreme Court’s midnight ruling allowed the federal Bureau of Prisons to proceed with the plan to end Montgomery’s life by lethal injection. Montgomery’s lawyers had also filed a clemency petition asking President Trump to commute her sentence to life in prison, to no avail.
In preparation, authorities had transferred Lisa Montgomery on Monday from the federal women’s prison in Texas where she had been held for more than a decade to the Indiana facility. The family of the woman she murdered, had traveled there as well to witness Montgomery’s death.
Henry, Montgomery’s attorney, said throughout the legal proceedings that no one was excusing Montgomery’s actions, but that her troubled life provided context for the crime. She said her client had brain damage and severe mental illness that was exacerbated by a lifetime of abuse, including child sex trafficking, gang rape and physical abuse largely at the hands of family members.
She said the Constitution, “forbids the execution of a person who is unable to rationally understand her execution,” Henry said in a statement shortly after the Supreme Court issued its final order.
“The government stopped at nothing in its zeal to kill this damaged and delusional woman,” the attorney said.
Montgomery’s execution is one of three that the Justice Department had scheduled during this final full week of the Trump administration. The two others were halted by a federal judge on Tuesday.
Cory Johnson, 52, was scheduled for execution on Thursday for his involvement in the murder of seven people nearly three decades ago. Dustin John Higgs, 55, was scheduled to be put to death on Friday for his involvement in the murder of three women nearly 20 years ago. Both have tested positive for COVID-19 and the judge ordered their executions be delayed until mid-March to allow them to recover. The Justice Department has appealed that order.
If the judge’s delay is overturned, those executions could be the last to occur for the foreseeable future. Senate Democrats unveiled legislation Monday that would abolish the federal death penalty, and President-elect Joe Biden has said he wants to eliminate it as well.
In 2019, the Justice Department announced it would revive federal executions after a 16-year hiatus. Under the Trump administration, 10 men have been executed since July 2020.
Now one woman joins the list of those put to death.