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Lisa Montgomery and Bobbie Jo Stinnett

ACLU sues over federal death row conditions as execution nears for killer who strangled pregnant mom, carved baby from womb [UPDATE]

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General William Barr and others, claiming that the conditions at a prison are torture for Lisa Montgomery, a woman scheduled for death in January.

The Kansas City Star reports that the lawsuit, which was filed this month at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, argues that Montgomery’s Eighth Amendment rights are being violated, which is supposed to protect her from cruel and unusual punishment. ACLU also alleged that Montgomery, who reportedly suffers from severe mental disorders, is being discriminated against due to her disabilities.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Montgomery is currently scheduled to be put to death by legal injection. She’s serving a death sentence for the 2004 murder of pregnant 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett, whose baby Montgomery cut out of her with a carving knife, at Stinnett’s home in Skidmore, Missouri.

Montgomery, who was faking her own pregnancy, met Stinnett online while pretending to be interested in buying a dog. The two women arranged to meet on December 16, 2004, at Stinnett’s home in regards to buying a rat terrier. Investigators believe Montgomery strangled Stinnett with a rope and then cut the baby from her womb during the visit.

According to ACLU, Montgomery’s issues started at birth, when she was born with permanent brain damage due to her mother’s excessive alcohol drinking during pregnancy.

The ACLU argued that Montgomery was tortured and abused as a child. She was often made to take cold showers and beaten with numerous items. Her mother allegedly taped her mouth shut so Montgomery couldn’t talk.

Montgomery was later raped, according to ACLU, and warned not to say anything unless she wanted it to happen to her younger sister. At age 15, Montgomery was forced into sex trafficking by her own mother, the lawsuit alleges.

Montgomery began mentally disassociating to help her survive, the lawsuit states. When her mother remarried while Montgomery was in high school, the man allegedly beat and raped Montgomery.

ACLU contends that the prison is “re-torturing” Montgomery as she awaits her death sentence. The prison is accused of forcing Montgomery to take cold showers, denying her undergarments, talking cruelly to her, and leaving lights on 24/7.

“She was also placed under new conditions of confinement that are harsher than the conditions for men housed at USP Terre Haute under death watch,” the ACLU contends. “Defendants have not forced condemned men to experience anything like Mr.s Montgomery’s current confinement.”

Previous video coverage of the case

Prosecutors, however, previously stressed that they believe that Stinnett was conscious and had been trying to defend herself while Montgomery used a kitchen knife to cut the baby out of Stinnett’s stomach, according to a report by the Daily Mail.

Stinnett’s own mother found her bleeding in her living room hours after the attack and contacted 911.

“She is laying on the floor with blood everywhere,” mother Becky Harper told a 911 dispatcher. “She was pregnant. … It’s like her guts have exploded or something.”

The baby, a girl, survived but Montgomery tried to pretend she was hers.

Police arrested Montgomery the following day at her home in Melvern, Kansas. They found Stinnett’s baby inside Montgomery’s home, with Montgomery holding the baby in her arms while watching the news about the missing baby flash across a television screen.

The baby, now a 16-year-old old, was returned to her father.

During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Montgomery devised a story of how she had gone into labor while on a shopping trip, even though she had undergone tubal ligation in 1990.

Nodaway County Sheriff Randy Strong, who worked the case since the beginning, said that the brutal murder and kidnapping had been “meticulously planned,” News-Press Now reports.

Prior to the incident, Montgomery purchased a hospital-grade clamp to use on the baby’s umbilical cord. She also conducted a practice run on the day prior to the attack.

“It was one of the most well-planned murders I’ve ever seen,” Strong said.

Montgomery, who later confessed to the crime, was sentenced to death in 2007.

Earlier this month, a federal judge temporarily delayed Montgomery’s execution. It was initially scheduled for December but has been reset for January 12, according to Reuters.

If Montgomery’s execution stays, she will be the first woman to face death row execution in nearly 70 years.

Check back for updates.

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[Feature Photo: Lisa Montgomery & Bobbie Jo Stinnett/Police Handout; Handout]