Save Lisa Montgomery

Save Lisa Montgomery

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Lisa Montgomery, 52, was convicted of killing 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett in the northwest Missouri town of Skidmore in December 2004. She is scheduled to be executed in Indiana on Jan. 12. she is scheduled to be the first female federal inmate to be executed in nearly 70 years.

On Dec. 16, 2004, Ms. Montgomery drove to Skidmore, Mo., where she strangled a pregnant woman named Bobbie Jo Stinnett, then sliced open her belly and took the baby with her and attempted to pass the girl off as her own, prosecutors said.

From infancy and through adolescence, Montgomery endured horrific domestic abuse from her mother and sexual assault at the hands of her stepfather in addition to other forms of abuse, including forced prostitution. Addled with trauma, Montgomery developed, the Times reports, "bipolar disorder, temporal lobe epilepsy, complex post-traumatic stress disorder (c-PTSD), dissociative disorder, psychosis, traumatic brain injury, and likely fetal alcohol syndrome." She was also "born into a family rife with mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression."

These extenuating circumstances could and should have been used by her attorneys to demonstrate that, no matter the severity of her crimes, Montgomery should not be given the death penalty. But, during her jury in her 2007 trial, her attorneys — all men — didn't give the jury insight into this. They also, the Times says, "suggested that her... half brother Tommy Kleiner was the actual killer, despite having his own probation officer as his alibi." Because they failed to defend her properly, Montgomery was sentenced to death. 

Montgomery's attorney says the crime was "the direct result of her mental illness and trauma.” Her attorney plans to ask the full circuit court to reconsider the ruling. 

"Given everything we know about Lisa Montgomery's mental illness, her lifetime of horrific torture and trauma, and the many people in positions of authority who could have intervened to save her but never did, there can be no principled reason to carry out her execution," attorney Meaghan VerGow said in a statement.

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