Killer befriended heavily pregnant woman before cutting out foetus

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A killer who murdered a pregnant woman and cut her unborn baby out of the womb is set to be the first federal female prisoner executed in the US for almost 70 years.

The US Justice Department announced that evil Lisa Montgomery will be put to death by lethal injection on December 8 for the horrific crime.

She was convicted of strangling eight-months pregnant Bobbie Jo Stinnett, 23, before cutting the baby out of the womb with a carving knife in 2004 at the victim's home in Skidmore, Missouri.

Montgomery, now 52, was faking being pregnant at the time. The baby, Victoria Jo Stinnett, miraculously survived the attack and is now 15 years old. A doctor who testified at Montgomery's trial said Mrs Stinnett was probably still alive when the killer started removing the baby.

It will be the first time a female federal inmate has been put to death since 1953 when Bonnie Heady was executed for kidnapping and murdering a six-year-old boy.

Montgomery will be executed by lethal injection at US Penitentiary Terre Haute, Indiana.

She met her victim online under the pretence of wanting to buy a rat terrier, a breed of hunting or farm dog. Montgomery posed as "Darlene Fischer" as the pair started talking in a chatroom called "Ratter Chatter".

The killer told Mrs Stinnett she was pregnant and the two women talked in the chatroom and over email.

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On December 16, 2004, they arranged to meet at Mrs Stinnett's home over a purchase of a rat terrier.

Montgomery arrived at her victim's home and strangled her with a neon pink rope.

She then cut the baby girl from Mrs Stinnett's womb and tried to pass the infant girl off as her own.

Montgomery was arrested the following day while Victoria Jo was placed in the care of her father Zeb. Her swift arrest was put down to the forensic examination of the pair's online communications.

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In 2007 Montgomery was sentenced to death by the US District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

Her defence team argued she suffered from a delusional belief that she was pregnant, and said she may have been unable to differentiate between right and wrong when she killed Mrs Stinnett.

They portrayed her as a victim of severe mental illness and argued that she had post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by mental, physical and sexual abuse in her childhood.

But prosecutors countered that Montgomery carefully planned out the fatal meeting at her victim's house, pretending she wanted to buy a rat terrier puppy.

She had reported a series of false pregnancies. Her husband Carl Boman, suspicious of her latest supposed pregnancy, threatened to use it against her as he sought custody of two of the couple's four children.

During the trial, US Attorney John F. Wood said: "The only good thing that comes from this tragedy is that little Victoria is a healthy baby and is reunited with her family."

Montgomery's execution is set to be the eighth carried out by the federal government since the Trump administration ended an informal 17-year hiatus on federal executions in July.

  • Crime

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