Lisa Montgomery Will Be the First Female U.S. Federal Inmate Executed Since 1953
Bobbie Jo Stinett and her husband Zeb Stinett were a happy couple in their early twenties from Skidmore, Missouri who owned a successful dog-breeding business they ran from the comfort of their own home. They were childhood sweethearts and were getting ready to welcome a new addition to their home, as Bobbie Jo was eight months pregnant with the pair’s first child.
Bobbie Jo met a woman claiming to be named Darlene Fischer in an online Rat Terrier chat room called, ‘Ratter chatter.’ Of course, Darlene’s real name was Lisa Montgomery. Bobbie Jo and Lisa quickly became friends, as they had much in common. Both women were pregnant, bred rat terriers and attended dog shows. The two frequently communicated via email about their pregnancies.
On December 16, 2004, Lisa was to drive from her home in Kansas to Skidmore to purchase a dog from Bobbie Jo. Instead of buying a dog, Lisa strangled poor Bobbie Jo until she lost consciousness. She then grabbed a large kitchen knife and began to cut Bobbie Jo’s unborn child from her womb. The pain brought Bobbie Jo back to a conscious state and she began fighting back, but ultimately, she would lose that fight.
Lisa strangled Bobbie Jo again and stabbed her to death.
According to both of her ex-husbands, Lisa had undergone a tubal ligation in 1990 and was not pregnant as she had told Bobbie Jo. Her former spouses also corroborated Lisa had a history of faking pregnancies several times following the procedure.
Lisa grew up in a violent and chaotic home in Melvern, Kansas. She was constantly raped by her step-father and her mother was of no help. Upon finding out, instead of protecting her daughter, Lisa’s mother threatened her with a gun. Lisa became more and more depressed, using alcohol to escape her trauma. At eighteen she left home and married, hoping to escape the abuse, only to suffer more abuse at the hands of her husband. Her next marriage was no different. Lisa had four teenage children of her own when she murdered Bobbie Jo and stole her unborn child.
Lisa kidnapped Bobbie Jo’s premature baby and left her on her kitchen floor, covered in blood, clutching on to strands of Lisa’s blonde hair. An hour later, Bobbie Jo’s mother Harper arrived at her daughter’s house ready to take her to an auto shop to have work done on her truck. What she found instead was a scene she would never be able to erase from her memory. Harper called 911, stating her daughter’s stomach looked like it had exploded.
Bobbie Jo was pronounced dead at the hospital.
On December 17, 2004, the day after Bobbie Jo was murdered, Lisa Montgomery was arrested in her home in Kansas. Investigators had tracked her location through her online contact with Bobbie Jo. An Amber Alert also aided in the capture of Lisa. At first, the Amber Alert had been denied due to the fact a description of the baby was not possible, however, an intervention by Congressman Sam Graves quickly changed that.
When authorities walked into Lisa’s home, she was sitting on the couch holding Victoria Jo, with the Amber Alert flashing on her television.
Lisa was charged with ‘kidnapping resulting in death.’ Her defence attorneys first used the defence that Lisa’s brother Tommy had murdered Bobbie Jo, but Tommy had an alibi. The defence then changed their argument, claiming Lisa was suffering from pseudocyesis, a mental condition that causes a woman to falsely believe they are pregnant. A neuropsychologist testified Lisa had sustained several head injuries from the abuse she suffered at the hands of her parents and former spouses, deeming her incapable of handling feelings of aggression.
V. S. Ramachandran, a neuroscientist and MD William Logan provided expert testimony at the trial stating Lisa suffered from pseudocyesis, borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, however, then-federal prosecutor Roseann Ketchmark and forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz disagreed with the diagnosis of pseudocyesis. Ultimately, so did the jury.
Lisa was found guilty on October 22, 2007, and was sentenced to death. She is currently incarcerated at FMC Carswell, a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas. She is the only female at FMC awaiting a death sentence.
Lisa was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on December 8, 2020, however, it has been postponed to January 12, 2021, due to the Coronavirus. She will be the first female federal inmate to be executed in the United States in sixty-seven years, the last being Bonnie Heady who was executed in 1953.
As for Victoria Jo, she was safely returned to her father Zed and she will be celebrating her sweet-sixteen later this month.
Originally published on Medium by the author.