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18 October 2020 22:34

Capital punishment Lisa M. Montgomery United States Department of Justice

Feds to execute a woman for the first time in more than six decades Michael Balsamo | Associated Press WASHINGTON – A woman convicted of fatally strangling a pregnant woman, cutting her body open and kidnapping her baby is scheduled to be the first female inmate put to death by the U.S. government in more than six decades, the Justice Department said Friday. Lisa Montgomery is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Dec. 8 at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. She would be the ninth federal inmate to put to death since the Justice Department resumed executions in July after a nearly 20-year hiatus. Montgomery was convicted of killing 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett in the northwest Missouri town of Skidmore in December 2004. Montgomery drove from her Kansas home to Stinnett's house in Skidmore under the guise of adopting a rat terrier puppy, prosecutors said.

When she arrived at the home, Montgomery used a rope to strangle Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, but Stinnett was conscious and trying to defend herself as Montgomery used a kitchen knife to cut the baby girl from the womb, authorities said. Prosecutors said Montgomery removed the baby from Stinnett's body, took the child with her, and attempted to pass the girl off as her own. Montgomery's lawyers argued that she had been suffering from delusions when she killed Stinnett, but a jury rejected her defense. Her lawyers had also argued that she was suffering from pseudocyesis, which causes a woman to falsely believe she is pregnant and exhibit outward signs of pregnancy. Man also scheduled for execution after 1999 killings The Justice Department on Friday also scheduled the execution of a man convicted in the 1999 killing of two youth ministers in Texas.

Brandon Bernard, 40, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Dec. 10. Bernard and his co-defendant, Christopher Vialva, were convicted in the 1999 kidnapping and killing of Todd and Stacie Bagley, an Iowa couple who had stopped to use a payphone in Killeen, Texas. The couple agreed to give Vialva and two others a ride, authorities said. Vialva pulled out a gun, forced the couple into the trunk and drove around for several hours, stopping at ATMs to withdraw cash and attempting to pawn the woman's wedding ring, according to prosecutors. Both the victims were shot in the head and placed in the trunk of their car, which then was set on fire.

Vialva was executed last month at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute. The resumption of federal executions started July 14, with the execution of former white supremacist Daniel Lewis Lee. Since then, six others have been put to death and another man, Orlando Hall, is scheduled to be executed next month. Anti-death penalty groups say President Donald Trump is pushing for executions during the campaign season in a bid to burnish a reputation a law-and-order leader. Before the resumptions of executions this summer, federal authorities had executed just three prisoners in the previous 56 years. Election: Ex-CIA Director Brennan says he hopes Trump gets 'soundly spanked by the American electorate' Who's undecided?: Donald Trump's toughest hurdle to pull off a win: Most minds are made up US schedules 1st federal execution of woman in nearly 70 years Lisa Montgomery was convicted of killing a pregnant woman and taking the baby. The U.S. Department of Justice has scheduled the federal execution of an inmate who was convicted of murdering a pregnant woman, cutting her open and kidnapping the baby from her womb. Lisa Montgomery will be the first woman to be federally executed in nearly 70 years when her death sentence is carried out on Dec. 8 at the U.S. penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. Montgomery killed Bobbie Jo Stinnett in December 2004 after driving from Kansas to Stinnett's home in Missouri under the pretense of buying a puppy, according to the Justice Department. Once inside, Montgomery strangled Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, causing her to lose consciousness. She regained consciousness when Montgomery cut her open with a kitchen knife, which led to a struggle, authorities said. Montgomery then strangled Stinnett again until she died and removed the baby, who she attempted to pass off as her own. She later confessed to murdering Stinnett and abducting her child and was convicted in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri in October 2007 for federal kidnapping resulting in death. The jury unanimously recommended a death sentence, which the court imposed, and her conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal. Montgomery's request for collateral relief was rejected by every court that considered it. The last federal execution of a woman occurred in September 1953, when Bonnie Heady was killed in a gas chamber. Heady was convicted of kidnapping and murdering Bobby Greenlease, the 6-year-old son of a millionaire automobile dealer, according to the FBI. Heady had killed the boy soon after the kidnapping but still received $600,000 from his parents after assuring them he was alive and would be returned within 24 hours. The Justice Department also announced the scheduling for the execution for Brandon Bernard, who, along with accomplices in 1999, murdered two youth ministers, Todd and Stacie Bagley, on a military reservation in Fort Hood. The couple was forced into the trunk of their car after agreeing to give a ride to several of Bernard's accomplices, who then drove the couple around for hours while attempting to steal their money and pawn Stacie Bagley's wedding ring, according to authorities. Todd and Stacie Bagley spoke with their abductors about God and pleaded for their lives while locked in the trunk of their car. The car was later parked on the military reservation and doused with lighter fluid while the couple prayed and sang hymns inside. After Stacie Bagley said, "Jesus loves you," and "Jesus, take care of us," one of the accomplices shot both of them in the head. Bernard then lit the car on fire. Todd Bagley died from the gunshot wound, while Stacie Bagley died of smoke inhalation, authorities said. A jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas unanimously recommended a death sentence after they found Bernard guilty of two counts of murder within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, among other offenses, in 2000. Bernard's conviction and sentence were also affirmed on appeal, and a request for collateral relief was rejected by every court that considered it. His execution is scheduled to take place on Dec. 10 in Terre Haute, Indiana. The first federal execution in nearly two decades was carried out in July. Daniel Lewis Lee, convicted of murdering, an Arkansas family in 1996, was executed by lethal injection at the federal prison facility in Terre Haute, Indiana.