Archive for Friday, April 13, 2007

New trial date set for woman accused of killing expectant mother

April 13, 2007


— The trial of a Kansas woman accused of killing a pregnant woman and cutting the baby from her womb has been postponed to Oct. 1 to give defense experts more time to complete their reports.

Lisa Montgomery, 39, of Melvern, Kan., was scheduled to go on trial April 30 on one federal count of kidnapping resulting in death. The new trial date was announced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City.

In a pretrial conference last week, prosecutors said there wasn't enough time before April 30 for government mental health experts to interview Montgomery and write their reports.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Montgomery.

She is accused of going to the northwest Missouri home of Bobbie Jo Stinnett, 23, in December 2004, strangling Stinnett, and cutting the baby girl from her womb. Prosecutors allege Montgomery used a false name to get directions to Stinnett's Skidmore home, claiming she wanted to buy a dog from the woman, who was eight months pregnant. The women had met through a group of rat terrier breeders.

Montgomery, who had been faking a pregnancy, showed Stinnett's baby off as her own in and around her hometown of Melvern before she was arrested the following day.

She has pleaded not guilty, and her attorneys announced last month that they would rely partly on a defense of "diminished capacity," commonly called the insanity defense.

The diminished capacity defense requires mental health evaluations by experts for the defendant and the government.

"Both doctors believe that they need additional time to get through all the reports," defense attorney Fred Duchardt said.

He also said he needed until the end of April to obtain reports on fingerprint evidence, and until the first week of May for reports on DNA evidence.

Lawyers have estimated the trial would last up to five weeks, with each side expecting to call about 55 witnesses.


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