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Woman Who Murdered Pregnant Woman And Cut Out Her Baby Is First Woman Executed By Feds In 67 Years
In this handout photo provided by the Wyandotte County Sheriff's Department, Lisa Montgomery appears in a booking photo released December 20, 2004 in Kansas City, Kansas. Montgomery, of Melvern, Kansas, is accused of murdering the pregnant Bobbie Jo Stinnett, cutting the fetus from her body, and claiming the live baby as her own. (Photo by Wyandotte County Sheriff's Department via Getty Images)
Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Department via Getty Images

On Tuesday night, the Supreme Court reversed two rulings from federal appeals court, permitting the execution of a woman convicted of strangling a young woman eight-months pregnant and slicing the baby from her womb in order to convince others she had a baby.

The family of Stinnett, pictured below, expressed their desire to remain private.

Lisa Montgomery, 52, became the first woman to be executed by the federal government in 67 years on Tuesday night, put to death by lethal injection. She was the only female inmate on federal death row in the United States. In 2008, Montgomery, who was 36 at the time of the murder, was convicted of strangling Bobbie Jo Stinnett, 23, of Skidmore, Missouri.

Stinnett and her husband owned a dog-breeding business; Montgomery met Stinnett online in an online chatroom for rat terrier breeders and fans of the breed called “Ratter Chatter,” where Montgomery told Stinnett she was pregnant.

Montgomery posed as a customer the day of the murder, December 16, 2004, before she murdered Stinnett.

“It wasn’t Montgomery that Stinnett was expecting; it was a woman who went by the name of Darlene Fischer. But Fischer was a name that Montgomery had been using when she separately began messaging Stinnett from a different email address inquiring about buying one of her puppies,” the BBC noted.

Stinnett’s body was discovered by her mother an hour after the attack. Paramedics could not save her. She died at St. Francis Hospital in Maryville. The next day, Stinnett was found at her farmhouse in Kansas with the newborn baby.

Montgomery’s attorneys argued that she deserved a postponement of the execution. As ScotusBlog reported, “Four separate cases relating to Montgomery’s execution reached the justices in emergency litigation over the past several days.” Those cases included Montgomery’s claims that her execution violated the Federal Death Penalty Act requiring federal death sentences be implemented “in the manner prescribed by the law of the State in which the sentence is imposed.”

Montgomery said the DOJ did not honor Missouri’s law stating prisoners get at least 90 days’ notice before an execution. The government argued that the FDPA only requires the federal government to act in concert with a state’s general method of execution and thus did not apply to a state’s procedural rules.

Montgomery also argued that her death sentence had a stay provision that was never lifted. The government argued that the stay was merely to allow Montgomery to appeal her conviction, not an indefinite stay of her execution.

Montgomery argued that she should not be executed because of mental illness. The history of how she was repeatedly sexually and violently abused as a child and as an adult can be found here. An appeals court ruled against her and the Supreme Court declined to reverse that decision.

Lastly, Montgomery argued that her original execution date was Dec. 8, but after her attorneys became sick with the coronavirus in November and a judge issued a stay through Dec. 31, the DOJ rescheduled her execution for January 12, which she claimed violated the Federal Code, which states, “If the date designated for execution passes by reason of a stay of execution, then a new date shall be designated promptly by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons when the stay is lifted.” The D.C. Circuit ruled for the government and the Supreme Court turned down Montgomery’s appeal.

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