Lisa Montgomery, Federal

 

Updated: Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The execution of Lisa Montgomery has been carried out.  Read more here

Updated: Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the execution of Lisa Montgomery can proceed. 

Updated: Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Lisa Montgomery's execution is delayed while appeals are pending before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Updated: Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Lisa Montgomery's execution has been stayed by a federal judge pending a mental competency review.  The federal government is appealing this ruling.

Updated: Monday, January 11, 2021

Lisa Marie Montgomery is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at the Terra Haute Federal Correctional Institute in Terra Haute, Indiana. A preliminary injuection has been issued in the case. Fifty-two-year-old Lisa is convicted of the murder of Bobbie Jo Stinnett, and stealing Bobbie Jo’s unborn child, on December 16, 2004, in Skidmore, Missouri. Lisa has spent the last 13 years on federal death row.

Lisa did not have a good relationship with her mother while growing up. Lisa was also physical and sexually abused by her stepfather, until they divorced.  She was also allegedly gang-raped by her step-father's friends and trafficked by her mother to adult men for sex. When Lisa turned 18, she married her stepbrother and had four children in four years. In 1990, Lisa had a medical procedure to prevent her from becoming pregnant again. Lisa later claimed that she was forced to undergo the procedure. However, in the years that followed, Lisa made four different claims to being pregnant. Lisa divorced her stepbrother in 1998, and married her second husband Kevin, in 2000.

Throughout the fall of 2004, Lisa was involved in a custody dispute with her ex-husband. He threatened to use against her in the custody hearing her claims to be pregnant, despite being unable to become pregnant. On December 10, 2004, Lisa’s ex-husband filed a motion of change of custody for the two minor children who lived with Lisa.

Bobbie Jo Stinnett was a breeder for rat terriers and maintained a website that promoted her dog breeding business. On the website Bobbie Jo posted pictures of herself, her dogs, and her business. In the spring of 2004, Bobbie Jo announced on her website that she had become pregnant. In April 2004, Lisa Montgomery and Bobbie Jo met at a dog show. They had previously communicated through online message boards.

 

Also in the spring of 2004, Montgomery began telling her friends, family, and online community that she was pregnant. Montgomery had kept her medical procedure rendering her unable to become pregnant from her husband, Kevin. Kevin believed that Montgomery was pregnant with their child, as she began wearing maternity clothes and behaving as if she were pregnant.

 

Montgomery, using the name Darlene Fischer, messaged Bobbie Jo on December 15, 2004, and arranged a meeting for the next day. Montgomery, who resided in Melvern, Kansas, had told Bobbie Jo, that she was from Fairfax, Missouri, near where Bobbie Jo lived in Skidmore. The pretext for the meeting was interest in purchasing a new puppy from a recent litter. That evening, Bobbie Jo told her mother and husband about her plans to meet with a woman the next day.

 

On December 16, 2004, Montgomery arrived at Bobbie Jo’s home around 12:30 pm. Montgomery had a cord and sharp kitchen knife in her jacket pocket. Bobbie Jo brought out the puppies and, around 2:30, confirmed with her mother via phone that she would pick up her mother from work an hour later.

 

Some time after the phone call between Bobbie Jo and her mother, Montgomery attacked Bobbie Jo. Montgomery strangled Bobbie Jo until she fell unconscious. Montgomery then used the knife to cut Bobbie Jo’s stomach. When Bobbie Jo woke up, Montgomery strangled her to death. Montgomery then cut out Bobbie Jo’s baby, clamped the umbilical court, and took the baby.

 

When Bobbie Jo failed to pick up her mother, her mother went to Bobbie Jo’s home and found her daughter. She immediately called the police, saying it looked like her stomach had exploded.

 

Montgomery stopped after driving a short distance and cleaned up the baby. She took a car seat she had hidden in her vehicle and placed the baby in the seat. Montgomery drove to Topeka, Kansas and called her husband, saying she had gone into labor and given birth at a woman’s clinic in Topeka. Her husband met her in Topeka and they returned home together.

 

The next day, Montgomery announced the birth of her daughter. The family went out to breakfast and shortly after returning home, law enforcement knocked on the door. Police questioned Montgomery at her house, before continuing questioning at the police station, where Montgomery eventually confessed to Bobbie Jo’s murder. While being questioned, Montgomery gave several inconsistent stories regarding how she gave birth, where she gave birth, before eventually claiming amnesia before and during Bobbie Jo’s murder.

 

The female child Montgomery kidnapped survived, and was returned to her father.

 

Lawyers for Montgomery attempted to argue that she was insane, and therefore could not be held responsible for her actions. A doctor diagnosed Montgomery with pseudocyesis, which is an intense desire to become pregnant, which can result in symptoms resembling pregnancy. A doctor for the state provided evidence showing that Montgomery did not actually believe she was pregnant and was not insane, such as stating on an insurance application in September 2004, that she was not pregnant, and refusing to allow her husband to attend any of her doctor appointments, and cancelling one he had made specifically so that he could attend. 

 

This is not Montgomery's first execution date.  She was scheduled to be executed last year, however her two lawyers contracted COVID-19 and were able to successfully seek a temporary stay of execution for their client.  The execution has then rescheduled for January. The lawyers, who are based in Tennessee and had to travel to Texas to visit with Montgomery and prepare last minute petitions, blame Attorney General Willam Barr for them catching the virus, claiming they would not have done so, if the execution had not been scheduled.  Several Democratic lawmakers have also called for all federal executions to be halted, following the contested results of the 2020 Presidential election.

 

The Northern District Court of Texas has refused a request by Montgomery to not be transferred to the all-male Terra Haute Federal Correctional Institute, where her execution is scheduled to be carried out.  Instead, Montgomery requested that her execution take place where she is currently housed, Federal Medical Center-Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.  In the lawsuit, attorneys for Montgomery argued that transfer to the all-male prison would "inflict further gratuitous suffering... and will likely trigger a catastrophic psychiatric breakdown."  In its dismissal of the case, the Northern District Court of Texas acknowledges the abuse Montgomery suffered at the hands of males during her life, however, the court also notes that she will be transferred to a separate wing, where she will be the only prisoner for the two days prior to her execution.

 

A lawsuit filed by two inmates at the federal facility where executions are carried out have filed a lawsuit arguing that holding the executions creates a "substantial risk" of spreading COVID-19.  Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Indiana has issued a preliminary injunction ahead of the executions. According to the preliminary injunction, the executions cannot be carried out unless the Department of Justice follows the guidance outlined by Judge Magnus-Stinson in the ruling.

 

Pray for peace and healing for the family of Bobbie Jo and for Bobbie Jo’s daughter. Pray for strength for the family of Lisa Montgomery. Pray that if Lisa is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be provided prior to her execution. Pray that Lisa may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if she has not already.

 

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