Lisa Montgomery, the Missouri woman convicted of murdering a pregnant woman and cutting the baby out of her womb, has been granted a stay of execution.
UPDATE: MONTGOMERY EXECUTED: The Terra Haute Penitentiary execution team performed a lethal injection early Wednesday morning for Lisa Montgomery’s conviction in a violent 2004 murder, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row, in 2004 strangled Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant at the time, before cutting out the baby. The baby survived. Judge James Hanlon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana wrote, “Ms. Montgomery’s motion to stay execution is GRANTED to allow the Court to conduct a hearing to determine Ms. Montgomery’s competence to be executed.”
Hanlon noted that Montgomery’s guilty verdict and sentencing were upheld on both appeal and during post-proceeding relief hearings, and that the matter considered in the petition for a stay of execution relates only to whether Montgomery may be lawfully executed in her current mental state. Three expert witnesses who either treated or interviewed Montgomery concluded that her “perception of reality is distorted and that she is currently unable to rationally understand the government’s rationale for her execution.”
During Montgomery’s trial, prosecutors argued that Stinnett regained consciousness and tried to defend herself as Montgomery tried to cut the baby girl from her womb. Montgomery eventually confessed, and the rope and knife used to kill Stinnett were found in her car. A search of her computer showed she used it to research cesareans and order a birthing kit.
Montgomery was convicted in 2007 of kidnapping resulting in death. After the jury heard additional evidence during the sentencing phase, they found that a death sentence was warranted and that Montgomery “committed the offense in an especially heinous or depraved manner,” the order states.
Prosecutors have filed a notice to appeal the stay of execution.
After the baby, named Victoria Jo Stinnett, was found by authorities, she was raised by her father, with the help of various other family members on both sides. Victoria has remained out of the public eye, and turned 16 in December which is also, of course, the anniversary of her mother’s death.
The teenager is also set to graduate from high school in 2023. Reports say she and her dad still live in Missouri near family.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice