Lisa M. Montgomery

Lisa M. Montgomery


Lisa Marie Montgomery (born February 27, 1968 and executed January 13, 2021) is an American woman from Melvern, Kansas, who was convicted in 2008 for the murder of Bobbie Jo Stinnett. Montgomery killed Stinnett while she was pregnant in order to take her baby from her. Her execution, in the final days of Donald Trump’s tenure and just before the arrival of the death penalty-averse Joe Biden, is the first federal execution of a woman since Ethel Rosenberg and Bonnie Brown Heady, in 1953.


Montgomery’s childhood is nightmarish. She was raped in a meeting by her stepfather and his friends for many years, then prostituted by her mother. She seeks to escape mentally during her adolescence by resorting to the consumption of alcohol. Her mother discovers him and threatens her with a pistol. Montgomery tries to escape her family by marrying at the age of 18, but her husband also rapes her. Her subsequent marriage resulted in the same abuse. Experts, who examined Montgomery’s case after her conviction, concluded that at the time of her crime she had suffered at length from “blossoming psychosis, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.” She was often dissociated from reality, and due to her numerous beatings, had suffered permanent brain damage. She also felt a suspicion of men in general.


Montgomery meets Bobbie Stinnett online in a forum called “Ratter Chatter” 3. Impersonating “Darlene Fischer,” Montgomery tells Stinnett that she too is pregnant. The two women are chatting online and exchanging emails about their pregnancies. Montgomery arranges a meeting at Stinnett’s under the pretext of wanting to buy a rat terrier. On December 16, 2004, Montgomery strangled Bobbie Stinnett with a rope at his home in Skidmore, Missouri, and removed the premature child from her womb. She then passes off the little girl as her own child.

Bobbie Stinnett’s mother, Becky Harper, finds her in a pool of blood about an hour after the assault. She immediately calls 911, describing the injuries inflicted on her daughter as if her “stomach has exploded.” Attempts by paramedics to resuscitate Stinnett were unsuccessful, and she was pronounced dead at St. Francis Hospital in Maryville, Missouri.

The next day, December 17, 2004, Montgomery was at her farm when she was arrested. She immediately confesses1. The infant, Victoria Jo Stinnett is returned to the care of her father, Zeb Stinnett.


She is tried and sentenced to death1 for “kidnapping resulting in death” under Title 18 of the United States Code 1201. US Attorney Todd Graves says federal jurisdiction is established when a person dies as a result of kidnapping. Violations of Title 18, USC 1201 can result in the death penalty and / or any penalty up to life imprisonment.

In a preliminary hearing, a neuropsychologist testifies that the head injuries suffered a few years earlier could have damaged the part of the brain that controls Montgomery’s aggression. During her trial in federal court, defense attorneys, led by Frederick Duchardt, claimed that she suffered from pseudocyesis or nervous pregnancy, a mental condition that makes a woman mistakenly believe that she is pregnant and that she is pregnant. ” she has outward signs of pregnancy.

According to The Guardian newspaper, Duchardt attempted to follow this line of defense only a week before the trial began, after being forced to drop another theory that Bobbie Jo Stinnett was murdered by Lisa Montgomery’s brother Tommy, the latter having an alibi. As a result, the Montgomery family refused to cooperate with Duchardt and describe Lisa’s unfavorable history to the jury.

The famous neuroscientist V. S. Ramachandran testifies that Montgomery suffers from a severe pseudocytic delirium. According to him, Montgomery’s sexual abuse during her childhood and post-traumatic stress disorder predisposed her to pseudocyesis. Ramachandran testifies that Montgomery’s account of his actions is fluctuating because his delusional state is fluctuating. He states that she suffered from a serious mental illness when she committed the crime and that she was unable to appreciate the nature and quality of her actions. Federal prosecutor Roseann Ketchmark characterizes Ramachandran’s theory as “voodoo science”.

Forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz testified for the prosecution. Dietz had previously worked with prosecutors on other high-profile cases, including those of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and Theodore Kaczynski, as well as two women, Andrea Yates and Susan Smith, who had killed their own children. Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Dietz testifies that Montgomery does not suffer from pseudocyesis and rejects Ramachandran’s theory qualifying it as scandalous.

On October 22, 2007, jurors found Montgomery guilty of murder. On October 26, the jury recommends a death sentence. Judge Gary A. Fenner formally sentences Montgomery to death. Prosecutor Matt Whitworth claims Lisa Montgomery planned the murder well in advance, according to a BBC report. On April 4, 2008, a judge confirmed the jury’s recommendation regarding the death15. On March 19, 2012, the United States Supreme Court dismissed Montgomery’s petition for certiorari16.

Duchardt’s defense of pseudocyesis mentioned above, however, ensured that Montgomery’s unfavorable history and distinct diagnoses of mental illness were not fully disclosed to the jury until after his conviction by his team on appeal. Critics, including Guardian journalist David Rose, claim that Duchardt’s defense was incompetent. Judge Fenner demanded that Duchardt be cross-examined in November 2016. Duchardt dismissed all criticism and defended his conduct2.

Montgomery is registered with the Federal Bureau of Prisons under number 11072-031 and detained at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Montgomery case is detailed in the books Baby Be Mine by Diane Fanning18 and Murder in the Heartland by Mr. William Phelps.


The execution of Lisa Montgomery, initially scheduled for December 8, is postponed to December 31, 2020 because her lawyers contracted Covid-1920, then to January 12, 20211, barely a week before President-elect Joe takes office. Biden, who announced that he would suspend all death executions during his tenure, or even that he would defend a law to repeal the death penalty at the federal level.

The mobilization against her execution is international, with the interventions of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the rapporteurs on the arbitrary executions of the UN, who accused the American state of having failed to protect it against the abuses. physical and sexual and for having betrayed her by not considering them as extenuating circumstances1.

She was executed on the night of January 12, 2021 to January 13, 2021, despite the demand from her defenders that her sentence be reduced to life imprisonment22. This is the first federal execution of a woman since Ethel Rosenberg23 and Bonnie Brown Heady 24, 70 years ago.

Lisa Montgomery, the first woman to be executed by federal justice in the United States in 70 years.

The 52-year-old American, who suffered from mental health problems, received a lethal injection on Wednesday night, 16 years after killing a pregnant woman in order to steal her fetus.

She had obtained a reprieve on Tuesday. The United States on Wednesday (January 13) in the state of Indiana, carried out the first federal execution of a woman in nearly 70 years, announced the United States Department of Justice.

“Lisa Montgomery, 52, was executed at the Terre-Haute federal penitentiary,” he said in a statement.

The Supreme Court had previously given the green light to execution overnight, rejecting the final appeals of the convict’s lawyers despite the disagreement of three progressive magistrates.

Mental disorders

In 2004, unable to have a new child, Lisa Montgomery spotted her victim, a dog breeder, on the internet and came to her home in Missouri under the pretext of buying her a terrier.

She had strangled her, opened her uterus, took the baby – who survived – and abandoned the young woman bathed in a pool of blood.

Without denying the gravity of his crime, his supporters last week sent a request for clemency to the Republican president. Lisa Montgomery suffers from mental disorders due to gang rape and violence suffered as a child, they said, asking her to commute her sentence to life imprisonment.

Trump, a strong supporter of the death penalty

On Monday evening, a federal judge had ordered a stay of his execution, the time to assess his mental state. “Lisa Montgomery is so far removed from reality that she cannot rationally understand the administration’s motive for her execution,” Judge Patrick Hanlon said.

An appeals court, seized by the Department of Justice, however, overturned the decision on Tuesday and the Supreme Court, profoundly overhauled by Donald Trump, validated its decision.

The temple of American law, which had been seized of two other separate appeals, each time ruled in favor of the government lawyers.

The last federal executions of women date back to 1953, those of Bonnie Brown Heady for kidnapping and murder and of Ethel Rosenberg in the same year for espionage, US media report.

A strong supporter of capital punishment, like his most conservative voters, Donald Trump has also ignored a request for clemency sent by the supporters of Lisa Montgomery.

Lisa Montgomery’s lawyer Kelley Henry called the new execution “vicious, referring in a statement” to the bloodlust of a failed administration.

Two more executions scheduled for this week

Despite the decline in the death penalty in the United States and around the world, his administration resumed in July, after a 17-year hiatus, with federal executions and has chained them since at an unprecedented rate.

Ten Americans have received lethal injections since the summer in Terre-Haute, and the Trump administration plans, in addition to Ms. Montgomery, to execute two black men this week: Corey Johnson on Thursday and Dustin Higgs on Friday.

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