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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Trump Admin Executes Woman Who Cut Baby from Womb of Pregnant Mother

A Kansas woman was executed Wednesday for strangling an expectant mother in Missouri and cutting the baby from her womb, the first time in nearly seven decades that the U.S. government has put to death a female inmate.

Lisa Montgomery, 52, was pronounced dead at 1:31 a.m. after receiving a lethal injection at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana.

She was the 11th prisoner executed at the facility since July when President Donald Trump resumed federal executions after 17 years without one.

It came after hours of legal wrangling before the Supreme Court cleared the way for the execution to move forward.

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Montgomery was the first of the final three federal inmates scheduled to die before next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, who is expected to end federal executions.

“The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight,” Montgomery’s attorney, Kelley Henry, said in a statement. “Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should feel shame.”

“The government stopped at nothing in its zeal to kill this damaged and delusional woman,” Henry said. “Lisa Montgomery’s execution was far from justice.”

In a separate ruling on Tuesday, which the government can still seek to overturn, another federal judge halted the scheduled executions later this week of Corey Johnson and Dustin Higgs.

Johnson, convicted of killing seven people in Virginia, and Higgs, convicted of ordering the murders of three women in Maryland, both tested positive for COVID-19 last month.

Do you think Montgomery should have been executed?

The men’s attorneys argued that lung damage caused by COVID-19 would make it more likely that the lethal injection would cause them severe pain. If they aren’t executed before Biden takes office, they may likely never be put to death.

Montgomery killed 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett in the northwest Missouri town of Skidmore in 2004.

She used a rope to strangle Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, and then cut the baby girl from her womb with a kitchen knife. Montgomery took the child with her and attempted to pass the girl off as her own.

As the only woman on federal death row, Montgomery had been held in a prison in Texas and was brought to Terre Haute on Monday night.

Montgomery’s legal team says she suffered “sexual torture” for years 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 rejected that idea, citing brain scans that supported the diagnosis of mental illness.

According to her lawyers, Montgomery suffered from depression, borderline personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. At around the time of the killing, they say she had a rare condition called pseudocyesis in which a woman’s false belief she is pregnant triggers hormonal and physical changes as if she were actually pregnant.

Montgomery also experienced delusions and hallucinations, defense experts said.

Details of the crime at times left jurors in tears during her trial.

Prosecutors told the jury that 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 Stinnett.

She strangled Stinnett, performed a crude cesarean and fled with the baby. Prosecutors said Stinnett regained consciousness and tried to defend herself as Montgomery cut the baby girl from her womb.

Later that day, Montgomery called her husband from Topeka, Kansas, telling him she had delivered a baby earlier in the day at a birthing center.

Montgomery was arrested the next day after showing off the premature infant, Victoria Jo, who is now 16 years old and hasn’t spoken publicly about the tragedy.

Prosecutors said the 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 to Stinnett, whom she had met at dog shows.

The last woman executed by the federal government was Bonnie Brown Heady on Dec. 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 on Sept. 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.

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.



Westernjournal

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