Appeals in Lisa Montgomery case leave victim’s loved ones, legal watchers waiting on decision

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — A U.S. Court of Appeals judge’s stay of execution issued Monday led to a day filled with legal wrangling in the case of Lisa Montgomery on Tuesday.

If her execution goes through, she’d become the first woman to die on federal death row in the United States in nearly 70 years.

Montgomery was convicted of murdering Bobbie Jo Stinnett in Skidmore, Missouri, and cutting her baby from her womb in 2004.

While her execution is delayed as of 7 p.m. Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether Montgomery is put to death Tuesday.

Following numerous legal challenges, and 16 years after the killing, the victim’s family and friends told FOX4 that enough is enough.

“Really mad, a lot of anger, hatred towards Lisa,” Stinnett’s friend Jena Baumli said.

These emotions re-emerged following the judge’s order, the stay due to concerns Montgomery may not be mentally competent to be executed. Late Tuesday, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied that stay, as did the Supreme Court.

Bobbie Jo Stinnett, killed on Dec. 16, 2004

“I personally don’t care about her abuse excuse that happened to her when she was younger. She had four kids and raised a family. And she took that from Bobbie Jo and her family and friends,” Baumli said.

There are three other appeals before the Supreme Court. The latest comes from Montgomery’s legal team directly to the high court, requesting a stay of execution. FOX4 will follow developments as they unfold throughout the night.

Jeff Dazey, a Kansas public defender, has tried death penalty cases and said, in his opinion, the judge’s execution delay was carefully crafted and involved a detailed review of the record as it pertains to Montgomery’s mental state.

Dazey said her last hope to avoiding execution is another stay ordered by a D.C. court over questions of law as to how the federal death penalty act applies to state law.

“This is a very fluid situation. I would expect the Supreme Court to weigh in on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals today, perhaps even within the hour,” he said.

FOX4 also heard from the mayor of Skidmore, who gave this statement:

The family of Bobbie Jo Stinnett and our surrounding community have waited 16 long years for justice to be served after Bobbi Jo’s own mother found her strangled and lying in a pool of blood with her unborn baby ripped from her womb. The length Lisa Montgomery went to in order to perform this horrendous crime shows this was not a spontaneous act performed in the heat of the moment, rather it was a deliberate, calculated, and premeditated action designed to take another woman’s life and kidnap her baby to pawn off as her own. According to Nodaway County Sherriff Randy Strong, who was the investigating detective for the murder, Montgomery performed a “dry run” by driving to Skidmore from Melvern, KS the day before she committed the crime and had purchased an infant car seat and medical supplies (in advance) needed to assist her with removing the unborn baby from Stinnett’s womb. There is absolutely no justification for what she did; Lisa Montgomery was 36 years old when she committed this crime and should be held accountable for her actions, regardless of any issues in her past. Bobbi Jo and her family are the real victims in this case, NOT Lisa Montgomery.  Bobbi Jo’s family members and our community deserve closure, and while the execution of Lisa Montgomery will not bring Bobbi Jo back, it will hopefully bring peace to those who knew and loved her. I pray the justice system does not, once again, let the citizens of Skidmore down.

Skidmore Mayor Sandy Wright

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