Woman who cut baby from mother's womb to be given a lethal injection

Seven weeks to live: Death row inmate, 43, will become first female federal prisoner to be executed in 70 YEARS after strangling a pregnant woman and cutting the baby girl out of her womb in 2004

  • Lisa Montgomery, 43, choked her victim, Bobbie Jo Stinnett, 23, with a rope before using a carving knife to take out a fetus from the womb
  • The murder happened in 2004 and Montgomery was sentenced to death in 2007
  • Her execution has been scheduled and will happen on December 8, 2020 
  • The U.S. government has not executed a woman since 1953 
  • Trump administration ended informal 17-year-hiatus of federal executions in July
  • Since July, seven federal inmates have been executed  

Convicted killer Lisa Montgomery (pictured) will be put to death on December 8 by lethal injection 

A death row inmate, 43, will become the first female federal prisoner to be executed in 70 years after she was convicted of strangling a pregnant woman to death and cutting the unborn baby out of her womb in 2004. 

The US Justice Department announced Friday that convicted killer Lisa Montgomery will be put to death on December 8 by lethal injection.

Montgomery was sentenced to death for the depraved Missouri murder of Bobbie Jo Stinnett after she strangled the 23-year-old and cut her baby out of her womb with a carving knife – while Montgomery was faking being pregnant at the time. 

The baby, Victoria Jo Stinnett, survived the attack and is now 16 years old. 

Montgomery’s execution will mark the eighth federal one this year after the Trump administration began pushing ahead with executions this summer ahead of the 2020 presidential race after a 17-year pause. 

She will become the first female federal inmate put to death in 70 years, since the execution of Bonnie Heady for kidnapping and murdering a 6-year-old boy back in 1953.  

Montgomery will be executed by lethal injection at US Penitentiary Terre Haute, Indiana, the DOJ said in a statement Friday.

She was found guilty of federal kidnapping resulting in death and sentenced to death in 2007 for the slaying of Stinnett.  

Montgomery met her victim online under the pretence of wanting to buy a rat terrier.

Montgomery was sentenced to death for the depraved Missouri murder of Bobbie Jo Stinnett (pictured) after she strangled the 23-year-old and cut her baby out of her womb with a carving knife – while Montgomery faked being pregnant at the time 

The baby Victoria Jo miraculously survived the attack and is now 16 years old. Stinett’s husband Zeb is pictured with Victoria Jo in 2004

Montgomery posed as ‘Darlene Fischer’ and started chatting with Stinnett in the chatroom called ‘Ratter Chatter.’ 

She told her victim she was pregnant and the two women chatted in the room and over email about their pregnancies.  

Stinnett was eight months’ pregnant while Montgomery was faking her pregnancy, telling her victim as well as her family and friends that she was full term.  

On December 16 2004, the two women arranged to meet at Stinnett’s home over a purchase of a rat terrier. 

Montgomery arrived at the home in Skidmore and strangled Stinnett with a neon pink rope.

She then cut the baby girl from her victim’s womb. 

The killer then tried to pass the infant girl off as her own child.

Bobbie Jo and Zeb Stinnett before her brutal murder in 2004 

Victoria Jo Stinnett, who is now 16 years old, was cut from her mother’s womb by Montgomery

Stinnett’s mother discovered her daughter’s butchered body hours later.

Police arrested Montgomery the next day at her farmhouse and the baby, who miraculously survived, was returned to her father Zeb Stinnett. 

In 2007, a US District Court for the Western District of Missouri sentenced Montgomery to death for the crimes.

During her trial, Montgomery’s defense argued the Kansas woman suffered from a delusional belief that she was pregnant, and said she may have been unable to differentiate between right and wrong when she killed Stinnett.   

The defense team portrayed her as a victim of severe mental illness whose delusion of being pregnant was being threatened, causing her to enter a dreamlike state when the killing took place.

They also argued that she had post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by mental, physical and sexual abuse in her childhood.

But prosecutors said Montgomery carefully planned the fatal meeting at Stinnett’s home in Skidmore, Missouri, pretending she wanted to purchase a rat terrier puppy. 

They said Montgomery tried to pass off Stinnett’s baby as her own, telling her husband she had gone into labor while on a shopping trip and having him pick her up near a Topeka health centre where she said she gave birth.

Montgomery had undergone a tubal ligation in 1990 after the birth of her fourth child. 

The US Justice Department announced Friday that convicted killer Lisa Montgomery (pictured) will be put to death on December 8 by lethal injection

Montgomery (pictured) was sentenced to death for the depraved Missouri murder of Bobbie Jo Stinnett. Her federal execution will mark the eighth this year

Trump administration resumes federal executions

The Trump administration resumed federal executions this year after a 17-year hiatus.

Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department has a duty to carry out the sentences imposed by the courts, including the death penalty, and to bring a sense of closure to the victims and those in the communities where the killings happened. 

However critics have argued that the Trump administration, which has been pushing for the executions, was creating an unnecessary and manufactured urgency for political gain ahead of the 2020 elections. 

The push to resume executions matches up with Trump’s ‘law and order’ rhetoric.  

The return to federal executions has also drawn scrutiny from civil rights groups. 

But soon after, she began falsely reporting a series of pregnancies. In 2004, she claimed to be due in mid-December.

Her husband, Carl Boman, had become suspicious of her latest pregnancy claim and threatened to use it against her as he sought custody of two of the couple’s four children. A custody hearing had been set for January 2005.

Montgomery’s mother and sister also had been telling Montgomery’s husband and his parents that it was impossible for her to carry a child.

Prosecutors said Montgomery used a rope to choke Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant. But Stinnett was conscious and trying to defend herself as Montgomery used a kitchen knife to cut the baby girl from the womb, prosecutors said.

‘The only good thing that comes from this tragedy is that little Victoria is a healthy baby and is reunited with her family,’ US Attorney John F. Wood said at the time of the trial.

After initially denying the crime, Montgomery told investigators she had taken a knife, rope and umbilical cord clamp with her to Stinnett’s home.  

Her attorney, Kelley Henry, said that Montgomery deserves to live because she is mentally ill and suffered childhood abuse.

‘Lisa Montgomery has long accepted full responsibility for her crime, and she will never leave prison,’ Henry said in a statement. 

The last woman to be executed by the U.S. government was Bonnie Heady, who was put to death in a gas chamber in Missouri in 1953

Bonnie Heady (left, on the day of her arrest) was involved in the kidnapping and subsequent murder of 6-year-old Bobby Greenlease in October 1953. The boy ended up being buried in Heady’s back yard. She was put to death in a gas chamber (right)

The last female federal execution: Bonnie Heady 

The last woman to be federally executed was Bonnie Heady in 1953 over the murder of a 6-year-old boy.

In 1953, couple Carl Hall and Bonnie Heady kidnapped six-year-old Bobby Greenlease from a Kansas City school. 

Heady had gone to the school, persuaded them she was Bobby’s aunt and took the child. 

Hall and Heady took the child across state line to Johnson County, Kansas where Hall shot him dead.  

The killer couple sent Bobby’s dad a ransom message demanding $600,000. 

The desperate father paid the sum and the couple fled. 

It was the largest ransom paid up to that point in US history. 

When the couple were tracked down they were sentenced to death.  

They died together in the Missouri gas chamber in December 1953.

‘But her severe mental illness and the devastating impacts of her childhood trauma make executing her a profound injustice.’   

The justice department on Friday also scheduled a December 10 execution for Brandon Bernard, who with his accomplices murdered two youth ministers in 1999.

The two executions will be the eighth and ninth the federal government has carried out in 2020. 

The last woman to be executed by the U.S. government was Bonnie Heady, who was put to death in a gas chamber in Missouri in 1953, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

She was involved in the kidnapping and subsequent murder of 6-year-old Bobby Greenlease in October 1953. The boy ended up being buried in Heady’s back yard.

The Trump administration ended an informal 17-year-hiatus in federal executions in July, after announcing last year that the Bureau of Prisons was switching to a new single-drug protocol for lethal injections, from a three-drug combination it last used in 2003.

The new protocol revived long-running legal challenges to lethal injections. In August, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. ruled the Justice Department was violating the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in not seeking a doctor’s prescription to administer the highly regulated barbiturate.

But an appeals court held the violation did not in itself amount to ‘irreparable harm’ and allowed federal executions to proceed. 

Other 2020 federal executions:

Daniel Lewis Lee 

Daniel Lewis Lee was the first person to be put to death in a federal execution in 17 years

Daniel Lewis Lee, 56, a 46-year-old member of the white supremacist group Aryan Peoples’ Republic, was the first person to be put to death in a federal execution in 17 years at Terre Haute prison in Indiana on July 14.

In 1999, Lee was convicted of the 1996 murder of gun dealer William Mueller, his wife, Nancy, and her 8-year-old daughter, Sarah Powell, in Arkansas.  

In a statement to DailyMail.com, Lee’s attorney Morris Moon last year said that his case ‘exemplifies many of the serious flaws in the federal death penalty system.’ 

In the shocking crime, Lee and the ringleader of the Aryan People’s Republic, Chevie Kehoe, dressed in police raid clothing and lay in wait for Mueller in his home, according to court documents.

When the Muellers returned, Lee and Kehoe overpowered and incapacitated Mueller and his wife.

They then interrogated the couple’s young daughter, Sarah Powell, about where they could find cash, guns, and munitions. 

The home invaders found and took roughly $50,000 in cash, guns and ammunition. 

After robbing and torturing the victims with a stun gun, prosecutors said Lee covered their heads with plastic bags, sealed the bags with duct tape, weighed down each victim with rocks, and threw the family of three into the Illinois Bayou. 

Their bodies were found five months after they went missing.  

However, Lee’s attorney insisted that ‘Kehoe was alone responsible for the death of the child in this case.’

‘The prosecution witnesses testified that Mr Lee steadfastly refused to harm the child,’ the lawyer said.

On May 4, 1999, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas found Lee guilty of numerous offenses, including three counts of murder in aid of racketeering, and he was sentenced to death. 

William Mueller, his daughter Sarah Powell, and wife Nancy (together above) were all tortured and killed in their Arkansas home in 1996, before their bodies were dumped in a river

Kehoe, however, was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences – a disparity that Lee’s attorney said illustrates the ‘grave injustice’ of the federal death penalty.

Lee’s attorney said that during the guilt phase of the trial, the government presented a hair they claimed was microscopically similar to Lee’s as part of the evidence – though DNA later showed that the hair was not from Lee.

The lawyer also argued that the Psychopathy Checklist – Revised (PCL-R), a psychological assessment that was presented to the jury during the penalty phase, is scientifically flawed.

‘Mr. Lee’s jury also never learned critical information about his exceptionally traumatic background,’ the attorney said.

‘Experts have described the physical, psychological, and sexual abuse; neglect; violence; and chronic trauma he suffered throughout his infancy, childhood and adolescence, as ‘devastating’ and ‘simply extraordinary,’ he continued.

Lee remained on death row since his conviction. 

Kehoe is imprisoned in Florence High Penitentiary in Fremont County, Colorado.    

Wesley Ira Purkey

Wesley Ira Purkey, 67, violently raped and murdered a 16-year-old girl, and then dismembered, burned, and dumped the young girl’s body in a septic pond

Wesley Ira Purkey, 67, was executed on July 16 for kidnapping, raping and killing 16-year-old Jennifer Long before dismembering, burning and then dumping her body in a septic pond in 1998.

On January 22, 1998, Purkey, drove from his home in Kansas to Kansas City, Missouri for a job interview with a plumbing company.

After the interview, Purkey smoked half a rock of crack cocaine and began driving down the street when he passed 16-year-old Jennifer Long, who was walking on the sidewalk. 

He pulled over to ask Jennifer if she wanted to ‘party,’ then took her to a liquor store and bought her gin and orange juice.

He then told her needed to go back to his home in Kansas. She asked to be let out of his truck. 

Instead, Purkey reached into the glove box, grabbed a boning knife, and placed it under his thigh, making it clear she couldn’t leave.

When they arrived at his home in Lansing, about 30 miles away, Purkey took Jennifer into his basement. 

Holding a knife, he ordered her to take her clothes off and lie down on the floor, where he raped her. 

After Purkey finished the vile sexual assault, Jennifer told him that she had been a virgin. 

Jennifer Long, 16, was a virgin when Purkey raped, murdered and dismembered her 

He confessed that he then grew fearful, and as Jennifer tried to escape his house, he grabbed her leg and forced her to the ground. 

The two briefly struggled before Purkey became enraged and repeatedly stabbed Jennifer in the chest, neck, and face with the boning knife, eventually breaking its blade inside her body. 

When he confessed, he told FBI Agent Dirk Tarpley, ‘it’s not like in the movies. They don’t die right away. It took her a little time to die.’

Purkey dismembered Jennifer’s body with a chainsaw and tried to burn the body parts in his fireplace while his wife and stepchildren were away at work and school. 

Nine months after raping and murdering Jennifer Long, Purkey was employed by a plumbing company when he met Mary Ruth Bales, 80, on a service call at her home during the evening of October 26. 

Purkey told Bales his employer charged a lot for the job she needed, and he offered to return later to do the work under the table if she would pay him $70 up front.

She paid, and Purkey left, using Bales’s money to hire a prostitute and buy several rocks of crack cocaine the next morning. 

Purkey and the prostitute retired to a motel room for several hours, where they had sex and smoked the crack cocaine before driving together to Bales’s house. 

Telling the prostitute that someone who lived in the home owed him money, Purkey went inside with a toolbox from his truck and bludgeoned Bales to death in her bedroom with a claw hammer. 

Investigators determined that Bales died from blunt force trauma resulting from repeated strikes to her skull with the claw side of the hammer. 

On November 5, 2003, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri found Purkey guilty of kidnapping a child resulting in the child’s death, and he was sentenced to death.   

Wesley Ira Purkey was executed Thursday after the Supreme Court voted it could go ahead, after he was granted a delay Wednesday.   

Purkey was also convicted of killing 80-year-old Mary Bales (above) with a hammer

Dustin Lee Honken

‘Iowa’s Walter White’ Dustin Lee Honken

Dustin Honken, 52, dubbed ‘Iowa’s Walter White’ after he went from being a nerdy chemistry student to a methamphetamine kingpin and murderer, became the third to be executed this year on July 17.  

Honken was sentenced to death in 2004 for the brutal 1993 slayings of five people including two little girls aged 10 and six and government informants. 

Honken shot and killed five people—two men who planned to testify against him and a single, working mother and her ten-year-old and six-year-old daughters. 

In 1993, Honken was operating a methamphetamine lab in Arizona when one of the two dealers he used for distribution, Greg Nicholson, was pinched by police and turned informant, according to court documents.

Honken was arrested on state drug charges, but made bond. Once free, he began a desperate hunt for Nicholson, who went into hiding by staying with Lori Duncan, a single mother raising her two girls, 10-year-old Kandi and six-year-old Amber.

On July 25, 1993, Nicholson, Duncan, Kandi, and Amber suddenly disappeared.

Five days later, Honken appeared for his plea hearing, but declined to plead guilty. 

Honken told his attorney he heard a rumor Nicholson had skipped town. Honken also provided his attorney with a VHS tape of Nicholson saying Honken was not guilty of the charges against him.

The government turned its attention to the other possible witness against Honken: his other dealer, Terry DeGeus.

Lori Duncan (left), a single, mother raising her two girls, 10-year-old Kandi (center) and six-year-old Amber (right) were all slain by Dustin Lee Honken

Honken was also convicted of murdering his meth distributors, Gregory Nicholson (left) and Terry DeGeus (right), who were scheduled to testify against him

DeGeus disappeared on November 5, 1993. 

After another informant wore a wire and caught Honken referencing eliminating the witnesses against him, Honken’s bail was revoked.

While incarcerated, Honken admitted to other inmates he killed witnesses to avoid earlier charges. Honken went into great detail about the murders.

Using prison informants, investigators discovered the bodies of Nicholson and the Duncan family, buried in a single hole located in a wooded area outside Mason City. 

Kandi and Amber each had a single bullet hole in the back of their heads. 

Nicholson and Duncan were bound, gagged, and shot multiple times, including once in the head. 

DeGeus’s body was found in a field a few miles away, face down in a shallow hole with a severely fragmented skull having been shot one or more times. 

On October 14, 2004, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa found Honken guilty of numerous offenses, including five counts of murder during the course of a continuing criminal enterprise, and he was sentenced to death. 

Keith Dwayne Nelson 

Nelson, 45, kidnapped 10-year-old Pamela Butler on October 12, 1999. She was rollerblading in front of her home when he approached her.

He then took her into a forest behind a church, raped her and strangled her to death with a wire.

A witness who saw Nelson grab Pamela was able to get his license plate, but he managed to get away. 

Keith Dwayne Nelson (left), 45, kidnapped 10-year-old Pamela Butler (right) on October 12, 1999. She was rollerblading in front of her home when he approached her.

Nelson was arrested two days later on the bank of the Kansas River. 

Pamela’s strangled body was found later in a wooded area in Grain Valley, Missouri. 

On October 25, 2001, Nelson plead guilty in the US District Court for the Western District of Missouri to the kidnapping and unlawful interstate transportation of a child for the purpose of sexual abuse which resulted in death.  

Nelson was executed on August 28. He offered no final words as the victim’s family watched him be put to death.

Christopher Andre Vialva  

Christopher Andre Vialva, 39, from Texas, is on federal death row for the brutal murders of an Iowa pastor and his wife in 1999.

Vialva, 19 at the time, his accomplice Brandon Bernard, now 39, and others, kidnapped Todd and Stacey Bagley during a carjacking and drove around Bell County with them locked in the trunk for about six hours while using the couple’s ATM cards.  

Vialva drove the car to a secluded area of Fort Hood, opened the trunk and shot Stacey in the head.

He then shot Todd and ordered his accomplices to pour lighter fluid in the trnk and car.

Bernard set the car alight.  

Todd and Stacey Bagley, murdered by Christopher Andre Vialva

Stacey had survived the shooting and died from smoke inhalation.  

Vialva was sentenced to death for the carjacking that resulted in death, the murder of Todd and conspiracy to commit murder or attempted murder of Stacey.

Bernard was sentenced to death for the murder of Stacey’s murder.

They were sentenced to death in Waco’s federal district court.

They were tried in federal court because the murders happened on Fort Hood.

Vialva was executed on September 24.  

William Emmett LeCroy    

William Emmett LeCroy is on death row for the rape and murder of Joann Lee Tiesler, a 30-year-old nurse, in 2001. 

LeCroy broke into Tiesler’s home in Gilmer County, Georgia, and lay in wait for her to return.

He then attacked her, bound her, strangled her with an electrical cord, and raped her. 

LeCroy, who had a long rap sheet before the murder, then slashed his victim’s throat and stabbed her in the back five times. 

He made off with Tiesler’s vehicle and fled to the Canadian border, where he was arrested. 

In March 2004, he was found guilty of carjacking resulting in death and sentenced to death. 

LeCroy’s execution took place on September 22. 

William Emmett LeCroy is on death row for the rape and murder of Joann Lee Tiesler (pictured), a 30-year-old nurse, in 2001

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