Lisa Montgomery Executed for 2004 Murder, Cutting Baby From Womb

January 13, 2021 Updated: January 13, 2021

Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row in the United States, became the first woman to be executed by the federal government in 67 years early Wednesday.

After the Supreme Court cleared the last hurdle for her execution by overturning a stay, Montgomery, 52, was pronounced dead at 1:31 a.m. at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. She received a lethal injection seven-and-half hours after her originally scheduled time of execution, according to The Associated Press.

Montgomery was scheduled to be put to death on Jan. 12 for murdering a pregnant woman and cutting the baby out of her womb. In 2004 she strangled Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant at the time, before cutting out the baby, which survived. Stinnett succumbed to her wounds.

She became the 11th prisoner to receive a lethal injection at the facility since the Trump administration in July pushed forward with its plans to resume federal executions after a 17-year pause.

The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the 52-year-old’s execution after issuing a pair of orders just before midnight.

“Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should feel shame,” Montgomery’s attorney, Kelley Henry said in a statement. “Lisa Montgomery’s execution was far from justice.”

Lisa Montgomery
Lisa Montgomery, a federal prison inmate, at the Federal Medical Center Fort Worth in an undated photograph. (Courtesy of Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery via Reuters)

Her lawyers had asked President Donald Trump to grant clemency, saying Montgomery committed her crime after a lifetime of being abused and raped.

Henry had earlier called Montgomery’s pending execution a “vicious, unlawful, and unnecessary exercise of authoritarian power.”

“No one can credibly dispute Mrs. Montgomery’s longstanding debilitating mental disease—diagnosed and treated for the first time by the Bureau of Prisons’ own doctors,” Henry said.

Montgomery was convicted in 2007 of kidnapping resulting in death. After the jury heard additional evidence during the sentencing phase, they found that a death sentence was warranted and that Montgomery “committed the offense in an especially heinous or depraved manner,” the order states.

During Montgomery’s trial, prosecutors argued that Stinnett regained consciousness and tried to defend herself as Montgomery tried to cut the baby girl from her womb. Montgomery eventually confessed, and the rope and knife used to kill Stinnett were found in her car. A search of her computer showed she used it to research cesareans and order a birthing kit.

Two more executions have been scheduled by the U.S. Department of Justice this week—the execution of Corey Johnson on Thursday and Dustin Higgs on Friday. Both executions have been temporarily delayed by a Washington judge as they are recovering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to halt federal executions after he is sworn in on Jan. 20.

Tom Ozimek and The Associated Press contributed to this report.