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Archive for Friday, March 25, 2005

Trial date set in pregnant woman’s slaying

March 25, 2005

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— A federal judge has set an April 2006 trial date for a Kansas woman accused of cutting a Skidmore woman's baby from her womb and claiming the baby as her own.

Lisa M. Montgomery, 37, of Melvern, Kan., is charged with kidnapping resulting in death.

She is accused of killing 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant with her first child, on Dec. 16 and then cutting her open with a kitchen knife and stealing her baby.

Prosecutors have said Montgomery showed the baby off as her own around Melvern before her arrest.

The baby, named Victoria Jo Stinnett, was returned to her father, Zeb Stinnett, in Skidmore.

"(It) would be unreasonable to expect defense counsel to prepare ... adequately for trial prior to April 24, 2006," U.S. Magistrate Judge John Maughmer wrote in an order filed Wednesday.

Prosecutors have said they were leaning toward seeking the death penalty, but they won't make a formal announcement of their intent until September.

They said obtaining approval from the Justice Department to pursue the death penalty could take months, and Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales will make the final determination.

Defense attorneys have said they do not plan to argue that Montgomery is incompetent to stand trial, but they have said they may prepare a defense of insanity or diminished mental responsibility.

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