A Kansas woman who was convicted of strangling a pregnant woman, cutting open her body to remove the baby, and kidnapping the baby, is scheduled to be executed by the US government, according to a statement by the Justice Department on Friday. Lisa Montgomery’s execution will mark the first time an inmate will be executed in over six decades.
She is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on December 8 at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. Her execution would make her the ninth federal inmate to be put to death after the Justice Department resumed executions in July following a moratorium that lasted nearly 20 years.
Montgomery was convicted of killing 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett in Skidmore, Northwest Missouri, in December 2004.
Prosecutors said Montgomery had driven to Stinnett’s house located in Skidmore, ostensibly to adopt a rat terrier puppy. When she arrived at the victim’s home, she proceeded to strangle her using a rope. The victim was eight months pregnant at that time. Stinnett had tried to defend herself, but she was overpowered by Montgomery, who then cut open her stomach and brought out the baby while Stinnett was still conscious. Prosecutors added that she kidnapped the baby from Stinnett and attempted to claim the baby as hers.
Montgomery’s lawyers argued that their client was not in the best form of mental health at the time of the crime. They said she suffered from delusions that prompted her to kill Stinnett. Her lawyers also argued that she suffered from pseudocyesis, which causes a woman to believe that she is pregnant and exhibit outward signs of pregnancy. The jury rejected this defense, found her guilty of the crime, and recommended a death sentence.
Also, on the Justice Department’s list to be executed was a man convicted in the killing of two youth ministers in Texas in 1999. Brandon Bernard is to be executed by lethal injection on December 10.
Bernard and his co-defendant, Christopher Valva, were convicted for kidnapping and murdering Todd and Stacie Bagley in 1999. The pair was an Iowan couple who had given Valva and two others a ride. In the course of the journey, Valva pulled out a gun, forced the couple into the trunk, and drove for hours. They stopped at ATMs to withdraw cash and attempted to sell off the woman’s wedding ring in a pawn shop. Eventually, they shot the couple on the head, placed their bodies in the trunk of the car, and set the vehicle on fire.
Valva was executed last month at the Federal Correctional Complex in Haute.
This series of executions have been condemned by those against the death penalty, who say Trump is using them to bolster an image of a no-nonsense leader. Prior to executions being resumed in July, the federal government had only executed three inmates in nearly six decades.