Kansas City, Mo. A Kansas woman accused of killing an expectant mother and cutting a baby from her womb will use a mental illness defense in her capital murder trial, according to court documents.
Lisa Montgomery, 37, of Melvern, Kan., is accused of strangling Bobbie Jo Stinnett, 23, of Skidmore, Mo., who was eight months pregnant when she was killed at her home Dec. 16, 2004. Montgomery then allegedly cut a baby girl from Stinnett's womb and told people the child was hers before she was arrested a day later in Melvern.
The child, Victoria Jo, survived and was returned to her father, Jeb Stinnett.
Montgomery's federal trial is scheduled to begin April 30 in Kansas City. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
In a court filing Feb. 28, one of Montgomery's attorneys, Frederick Duchardt, requested an extension to have a mental evaluation performed on Montgomery, whom he said intends to rely on a mental illness defense.
The extension was granted, but it's not expected to delay the trial.
Montgomery and Stinnett became acquainted through a group of rat terrier dog breeders. They met at least once, at a dog show in Abilene, Kan., several months before Stinnett's death.
Authorities said Montgomery, posing as a woman named Darlene Fischer, sought directions to Stinnett's home through the message board on the day before Stinnett's death. She allegedly said she wanted to buy one of Stinnett's dogs.
Acting on a tip, investigators traced that message back to Montgomery's computer in Kansas, which was a major clue leading to her arrest.