by Steven Ertelt
October 23, 2007
Kansas City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Lisa Montgomery, the woman who made national headlines for cutting open a pregnant mother’s stomach and stealing her unborn child was found guilty on Monday. A Missouri jury convicted the 39-year-old woman on a charge of kidnapping resulting in death.
The jury said she was guilty of the December 2004 strangling Bobbie Jo Stinnett, the baby’s mother, and slicing open her stomach with a knife to get the baby, whom she called her own.
Stinnett was eight months pregnant and Montgomery was pretending to family and friends that she was nine months pregnant with the child.
The baby girl was found a day after the crime at Montgomery’s home and returned to her father unharmed.
"The only good thing that comes from this tragedy is that little Victoria is a healthy baby and is reunited with her family," U.S. Attorney John F. Wood told AP afterwards.
Attorneys for Montgomery 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 Stinnett.
But prosecutors said she carefully planned a meeting at Stinnett’s home, where she pretended to be interested in dog shows and purchasing a puppy from her.
Jurors deliberated four hours after 11 days of testimony, according to a Reuters report and the charge of kidnapping resulting in murder allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty.
The jury will begin examining possible sentences on Wednesday and will decided between the death penalty and life in prison without parole.
Carl Bowman, former husband of Lisa Montgomery, testified during the trial that his ex-wife was unable to have children after undergoing a tubal ligation in 1990.
He said the family’s doctor recommended the procedure after their fourth child was born two months premature, according to an AP report. He said the physician didn’t think Montgomery was capable of carrying another baby to term.
Meanwhile, Montgomery’s current husband, Kevin Montgomery, testified he didn’t think it was strange that his wife had just given birth and wanted him to meet her at a local restaurant.
"I knew she didn’t like hospitals and doctors," Kevin Montgomery said, and explained that Lisa told him she gave birth earlier in the day at a local birthing center.
A judge previously ruled Lisa Montgomery can’t use the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion case as a defense, a judge has ruled. Her lawyers argued the baby was not a person under law and, therefore, she can’t be charged with kidnapping.
Judge John Maughmer determined in September that Montgomery’s lawyers can’t use the abortion case as a defense to get her kidnapping charges removed.
Montgomery’s children saw the newborn baby for the first time when she showed the child off at a store parking lot, just hours after Stinnett was killed.