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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.”
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 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.
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.