She is famous in a sick way, Lisa Montgomery, is now only the third woman on death row. Her sentence for the death penalty was given by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner in Kansas City. The jury which found her guilty of the December 16, 2004 murder of Bobbi Jo Stinnett in Skidmore Missouri had recommended the death penalty. Lisa Montgomery, was 36 when she confessed to strangling Bobbi Jo Stinnett, and then cutting her unborn baby girl from her mother’s womb.
Lisa Montgomery fled from the small town (population only 300) of Skidmore Missouri to head toward her hometown of Melvin, Kansas. She stopped in Topeka Kansas at a Long John Silver’s restaurant to call her husband, Kevin, announcing she had recently given birth to their daughter. In actuality Lisa Montgomery had fabricated a pregnancy multiple times before in her life. This time she claimed she had a miscarriage earlier that year.
Life changed in an instant for Zeb Stinnett the father of Bobbi Jo’s baby. Childhood sweethearts, the young couple married on April 26, 2003 and both were especially excited about the upcoming birth of their first child. The Stinnett’s knew they were expecting a little girl, and had already named the little girl, Victoria Jo.
Bobbi Jo was just 23 years old when she was found brutally murdered laying in the floor of her home by her own mother, Becky Harper. When Becky Harper called 911, she began by telling dispatchers it appeared as if her daughter’s stomach had exploded. Lisa Montgomery had cut Bobbi Jo’s pregnant belly from the top to the bottom. She then removed the unborn baby girl and cut the baby’s umbilical cord.
Yet, Bobbi Jo had not gone down with out a fight; she had handfuls of blond hair clasped in her hands. Police immediately began investigating the DNA evidence at the scene, forensic evidence on the family computer, and issued an amber alert for the unborn baby. Investigators give credit to the Amber Alert System for reuniting Victoria Jo Stinnett with her father Zeb Stinnett.
Lisa Montgomery, who was also a Rat Terrier Breeder, had spoken with Bobbi Jo on line many times, about breeding the dogs and both their pregnancies. Lisa Montgomery, posing as a woman named Darlene Fischer contacted Bobbi Jo in the chat room and proclaimed to be interested in purchasing one of the Rat Terrier’s Bobbi Jo Stinnett breed. Bobbi Jo gave her the address and directions to her home in Skidmore and the woman arraigned a meeting the next day.
Sadly this would be a fatal mistake for a woman who trusted anyone. Rev. Herald Harmon had the honor of uniting Bobbi Jo and Zebulon James Stinnett in holy Matrimony just a year and a half earlier. Now he was responsible for giving the young bride her final eulogy. Ironically, Bobbi Jo is one of three tragedies to recently befall her family. In 2000, a cousin died after being brutally attacked by a boyfriend, who stomped her head into the ground. In addition another cousin disappeared with out a trace. This all had happened within the previous four years.
The family chose not to bring Victoria Jo to her mother’s funeral. Almost the entire town turned out to support the Stinnett family in the time of grief. Bobbi Jo had grown up in Skidmore, Missouri. The town of Skidmore had made national news previous to the horrible slaying of Bobbi Jo Stinnett. In 1981, the town bully Ken Rex McElroy was shot to death while he sat in his pickup truck. There were more than 40 witnesses, yet no one could positively identify the shooter. To this day his murder remains unsolved.
When Lisa Montgomery was arrested she had the knife used to cut out the baby in her trunk. With the knife alone there was enough DNA from Bobbi Jo, Victoria Jo and Lisa herself to positively connect Lisa to the crime.
The people, who knew Bobbi Jo Stinnett in the chat room, also knew Lisa Montgomery. Bobbi Jo had an impeccable reputation for helping others and was well respected by her peers, and fellow dog breeders. Lisa Montgomery had been caught in numerous lies and was not well liked by her online peers. When the news broke about Bobbi Jo’s murder it was some of her online friends who were able to tell authorities about the woman named Darlene Fischer who had arraigned to meet Bobbi Jo. That screen name lead authorities to Lisa Montgomery’s computer, and eventually to Lisa herself.
People feel anonymous on the World Wide Web, yet in reality you are not invisible. One must be careful what information is given out as you can be anyone on the web. Even when it seems the information is not important with the search capabilities of the internet it is not difficult to search out clues to find someone or find where someone lives. Never meet anyone from the Web by yourself or in a private place. This is one time there is safety in numbers and in public places.
For now Lisa Montgomery sits on death row, hopefully haunted by the face of Bobbi Jo Stinnett every moment of every day. Thanks to the mother’s determination to pull out a handful of hair from her killer, she helped make sure her daughter was found and returned safely to the arms of her daddy. It is obvious that Bobbi Jo is still watching over and protecting her daughter. After all death cannot stop true love, but only delay it for awhile.