KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In 27 days, the federal government will execute its first female inmate in 67 years.
Lisa Montgomery was convicted in a 2004 murder kidnapping that shook the small city of Skidmore, Missouri. In late 2007 and early 2008 both a jury and federal judge in Kansas City moved forward with the death sentence for Montgomery.
Now, some 12 years later, Montgomery is scheduled for lethal injection on Dec. 8. That will happen at the U.S. penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Rather, if it happens.
Some advocates are holding out hope for a reversal of the sentence. And as Montgomery’s execution date nears, the pushback against her sentence is intensifying.
On Dec. 16, 2004, Bobbie Jo Stinnett was discovered dead in a pool of her own blood.
She had also been pregnant. Her 8-month-old child had been removed from her body, cut out with a kitchen knife. The child was missing but survived.
The suspect, later found guilty and sentenced to death, was Montgomery.
“There are other women out there who have done this, but none of them are facing the death penalty,” said Seileach Corleigh, president of the National Organization for Women’s Columbia, Missouri, Chapter.
That organization is one of dozens of groups and individuals who signed a letter sent to President Donald Trump, calling for clemency for Montgomery by asking for a commuted sentence of life in prison instead of the death penalty.
“There are so many points at which things could have been different, and I just feel that it’s not right to execute her,” said Corleigh, referencing Montgomery’s childhood.
Gillian Chadwick, a professor at Washburn University’s School of Law with a specialty in gender-based violence, also signed the letter. She said Montgomery’s past was not given proper weight in court.
“Those traumas impact a woman’s psyche in ways we are just beginning to understand,” Chadwick said.
“She was born with an intellectual disability. She was severely mentally, physically and sexually abused by people in and outside of her family. She was sex trafficked by her own mother. She was raped by her stepfather,” Chadwick said, referencing items previously brought up by Montgomery’s attorneys.
“And her crime, as heinous as it is, it fits into the profile of someone whose autonomy over her reproductive system was taken away from her from the time she was 11 years old,” Chadwick said.
But U.S. Attorney’s Office appears unlikely to react. Their execution announcement stressed that every court and jury who heard the case agreed with the sentence.
Corleigh said that messaging frustrates her.
“Because people say, ‘Well, the death penalty is a deterrent.’ Well, if somebody commits a crime because they’re mentally ill, they’re not processing reality to begin with, so why would they be deterred. The only way to stop it is to like treat the mentally ill,” Corleigh said.
Trump has not made any statement regarding the situation. FOX4 reached out to his press office to double-check if anything is being considered behind-the-scenes. We have not received a response yet.