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Archive for Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Death penalty can be sought for woman’s slaying

April 4, 2007

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— Prosecutors will be able to seek the death penalty against a Kansas woman accused of killing an expectant mother and cutting the baby from her womb, a federal judge ruled Monday.

U.S. District Judge Gary Fenner denied Lisa Montgomery's motions to remove the death penalty as a potential penalty if she is convicted in the 2004 slaying of Bobbi Jo Stinnett, 23, of Skidmore.

Montgomery, 39, is accused of strangling Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, at Stinnett's home Dec. 16, 2004.

Prosecutors say Montgomery then cut a baby girl from Stinnett's womb and returned to Kansas, where she said the girl was her newborn daughter before she was arrested in Melvern.

The child was returned to her father, Jeb Stinnett.

Attorneys for Montgomery had filed several motions asking Fenner either to declare the death penalty unconstitutional or to block prosecutors from seeking it against Montgomery.

Last week, defense attorneys said Montgomery would rely on an insanity defense.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Thursday, and the trial is scheduled to begin April 30.

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