The United States executed a woman who severed her fetus from her pregnant friend, and told her husband that it was their child


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“Lisa Montgomery has long assumed full responsibility for her crime and will never leave prison. But her severe mental illness and the devastating effects of her childhood trauma make her execution a profound injustice.”

Lisa Montgomery, second from left, and Bobby Joe Stennett, second from right, pose with dog rats at a dog show in Abilene, Kansas, April 2004. Image via image file

In 2004, Montgomery was convicted of strangling Bobby Joe Stenet, a 23-year-old woman from Missouri who was eight months pregnant, with a white cord.

Montgomery, 36, severed the fetus from Stenet’s womb with a kitchen knife, cut the umbilical cord and abducted the baby.

No sign of forced entry was found at the Stennett’s home in Skidmore, Missouri, and police believe Montgomery entered the house on December 16, 2004, posing as “Darlene Fisher” under the pretext of buying a Terrier rat from the Stennett Kennel, Happy Farms Haven.

The two women met at a dog show in April 2004 and communicated online in a chat room called “Ratter Chatter”.

Conversations in chat rooms led police the next day, December 17, 2004, to a ranch in Milvern, Kansas. There, they captured Montgomery and miraculously recovered the one-day-old baby, who was returned to her father and named Victoria Joe Stennett.

The Stennett House in Skidmore, Missouri, where Bobby Joe Stenet was murdered on December 16, 2004, by Lisa Montgomery and Stennett’s unborn baby Victoria Joe, severed from her womb and transported to the Montgomery House near Milfern, Kansas where she was arrested the next day 17 December 2004. Photo by Larry W. Smith / Getty Images
Police search Lisa and Kevin Montgomery’s home in Melvern, Kansas, on December 17, 2004. Image via image file

The trial heard that Montgomery had parked her car after killing Stennett to tie the baby’s umbilical cord, sucking mucus out of his mouth and cleaning it with wet wipes.

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Montgomery phoned her husband, Kevin, and told him that she had gone into premature labor and had given birth in a women’s clinic. Kevin Montgomery met his wife in the parking lot near the clinic, as it was unwise to spot the baby in the car seat, and the two returned home together.

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