First US execution of female prisoner in 67 years interrupted

MISSION, KAN. – Judge granted reprieve in what was to be the US government’s first execution of an inmate in nearly seven decades – Kansas woman who killed pregnant woman in Missouri, cut baby from her womb and makes the newborn look like his own.

Judge Patrick Hanlon granted the stay on Monday night, citing the need to determine Montgomery’s mental competence, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Lisa Montgomery was executed on Tuesday at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, just eight days before President-elect Joe Biden took office, opposing the federal death penalty.

Montgomery drove about 273.59 miles from his farm in Melvern, Kansas, to the town of Skidmore, northwest Missouri, under the guise of

7; adopt a terrier puppy from Bobbie Jo Stinnett, a 23 year old dog breeder. She strangled Stinnett with a rope before performing a rude Caesarean section and running away with the baby.

She was arrested the next day after showing the premature baby, Victoria Jo, who is now 16 and has not spoken publicly about the tragedy.

“As we walked through the threshold, our Amber Alert was playing on the television at that very moment,” recalls Randy Strong, then part of the Northwest Missouri Major Case Team.

He looked to his right and saw Montgomery holding the newborn baby and was showered with relief when she handed it over to law enforcement. The previous hours had been blurry in which he photographed Stinnett’s body and spent a sleepless night looking for clues – not knowing if the baby was dead or alive and no idea what she looked like.

But then advice began to come in about Montgomery, who had a history of a false pregnancy and suddenly had a baby. Strong, now sheriff of Nodaway County, where the murder took place, jumped into an unmarked car with another officer. He learned along the way that the fischer4kidsΓåòhotmail.com email address that was used to set up the deadly reunion with Stinnett had been sent from a dial-up connection to Montgomery’s home.

“I absolutely knew I was walking into the killer’s house,” Strong recalls, saying that rat burrows were running around his feet as he approached his house. Like Stinnett, Montgomery also bred rat terriers.

Bobbie Jo Stinnett’s mother Becky Harper sobbed as she told a Missouri dispatcher that she had tripped over her daughter in a pool of blood, her belly open and the child she was carrying missing.

“It’s like she’s blown up or something,” Harper told the dispatcher on Dec. 16, 2004, in the desperate but unsuccessful attempt to get help for her daughter.

Prosecutors said her motive was that Stinnett’s ex-husband knew she had undergone a tubal ligation which made her sterile and planned to reveal that she was lying about being pregnant in an attempt to obtain custody of two of their four children. Needing a baby before a fast-approaching court date, Montgomery focused on Stinnett, whom she had met at dog shows.

Montgomery’s lawyers, however, argued that Montgomery’s childhood sexual abuse led to mental illness. Lawyer Kelley Henry spoke out in favor of Monday’s ruling, saying in a statement to Capital-Journal that “Ms. Montgomery suffers from brain damage and serious mental illnesses which were exacerbated by the sexual torture she suffered. suffered throughout his life at the hands of guardians ”.

His stepfather denied the sexual abuse in videotaped testimony and said he did not have a good memory when faced with a transcript of a divorce proceeding in which he admitted physical abuse. Her mother said she never filed a complaint with the police because he threatened her and her children.

But jurors who heard the case, some crying through the gruesome testimony, ignored the defense in sentencing her for kidnapping resulting in death.

Prosecutors argued that Stinnett had regained consciousness and attempted to defend himself as Montgomery used a kitchen knife to cut the little girl off her stomach. Later that day, Montgomery called her husband to pick her up from the parking lot of a Long John Silver’s in Topeka, Kansas, telling her that she delivered the baby earlier that day at a birthing center. neighbour.

She ended up confessing and the bloodied rope and knife used to kill Stinnett were found in her car. A search on her computer showed that she was using it to search for cesarean sections and order a birthing kit.

Stinnett’s husband Zeb told jurors his world “fell apart” when he learned his wife was dead. He said he did not return for months to the couple’s home in Skidmore, a small farming community that had gained notoriety after the 1981 murder of town bully Ken Rex McElroy in front of a crowd. who refused to implicate the assassin (s). This crime was recounted in a book “In Broad Daylight”, as well as in a TV movie, the movie “Without Mercy” and the miniseries “No One Saw a Thing”.

Recently, on Victoria Jo’s birthday, he sent Strong, the sheriff, a message via Facebook Messenger thanking him.

“I just cried,” Strong recalls. “She’ll be constantly reminded of this, whether it’s in her nightmares or someone calls her and wants to interview her.” The family does not 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 that. They didn’t deserve this. “

Montgomery was originally scheduled to be put to death on December 8. But the execution was temporarily blocked after his lawyers contracted the coronavirus visiting him in prison.

The resumption of federal executions after a 17-year hiatus began on July 14. Anti-death penalty groups have said President Donald Trump is pushing for executions ahead of the November election in a cynical attempt to build a reputation as a leader of law and order. .

US officials have described the executions as bringing long-delayed justice to the victims and their families.

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