Lisa Montgomery, a Kansas native scheduled within days to become the first woman executed by the federal government in 67 years, lived a childhood so abusive her attorneys call it akin to torture.
She was beaten, repeatedly raped by her stepfather and his friends and sexually trafficked by her mother.
At 18, she married her stepbrother, who also beat and raped her. She had four children in less than four years before being sterilized. She lapsed increasingly into mental illness and repeatedly faked pregnancy.
But those who believe she should be put to death say her lifetime of horrors can't excuse what came next: On Dec. 16, 2004, she loaded a steak knife, umbilical cord clamps and part of a clothesline into her car and drove 175 miles from her home in east-central Kansas to the northwest Missouri home of Bobbie Jo Stinnett, an expectant mother she had met at a dog show.
She strangled Stinnett to death and cut the baby from her stomach.
The baby girl survived, and Montgomery took her home and briefly passed her off as her own until investigators arrested her the next day.
Montgomery, 52, the only woman on federal death row, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection Jan. 12 in the U.S. Penitentiary at Terre Haute, Ind. She has exhausted all legal options except a last-ditch appeal for clemency from President Donald Trump, which was filed Christmas Eve.
One of the lead investigators in the case, Randy Strong, wants Montgomery executed.
The cold, vicious, calculating and brutal nature of her crimes shows that Montgomery knew exactly what she was doing, Strong said.
"This was the act of a monster," he said. "She needs to be put to death."
In asking for mercy, her family members and attorneys say the untreated trauma she experienced as a child exacerbated her brain damage and her genetic disposition to severe mental illness, leading her to kill Stinnett during a psychotic episode — a dissociative state similar to sleepwalking.
The nature and circumstances of Montgomery’s crime show she had lost touch with reality, says her half-sister, Diane Mattingly.
Montgomery clearly should spend the rest of her life in prison, but she is not among the "worst of the worst" for whom the death penalty is intended, Mattingly told The Topeka Capital-Journal.
"She is the most broken of the broken," Mattingly said.
Abused by father, mother, stepfather, lawyers say
Mattingly, 57, recalled the day her half-sister was brought home in a pink bundle after being born Feb. 27, 1968, in Pierce County, Washington.
"When I squeezed her hand, she looked at me and smiled," she said. "I fell in love immediately."
Mattingly said she and Montgomery share the same father, John Patterson, a decorated Vietnam War veteran who never married Mattingly's mother. He married Judy Shaughnessy, who would become Montgomery's mother, in 1967 in Miami, Okla.
Patterson was the second of six husbands Shaughnessy would have during her life, which ended in 2013. Shaughnessy drank excessively during her pregnancy, causing brain damage to Montgomery, according to court records.
Mattingly and Montgomery were best friends. They slept in twin beds in a small bedroom and fell asleep most nights holding hands, Mattingly said. Patterson was transferred after Montgomery’s birth to Fort Riley in Kansas, where their family lived when another daughter was born in 1970.
Mattingly said Patterson was often away, and Shaughnessy became increasingly abusive toward them, at times forcing Mattingly to eat raw onions as punishment and go outdoors into the cold naked.
Shaughnessy also beat the girls with brooms and belts, Mattingly said.
Protecting her half-sister became her "sole purpose in life,” she said.
Mattingly said she shielded her half-sister from random baby-sitters, often older men, whom their mother left with them during her near-nightly outings to a local bar.
One of those men started coming into their bedroom and raping Mattingly regularly, Mattingly said.
"Little Lisa was in the bed next to mine every time," she said.
Patterson and Shaughnessy divorced in 1971, and Shaughnessy took custody of the girls. Patterson made a mistake by abandoning them to "that crazy lady," he said at Montgomery's sentencing hearing in 2007.
The divorce left Shaughnessy no longer entitled to be Mattingly's legal guardian. Mattingly was 8 years old and Montgomery was 4 when Mattingly was removed in 1972 from Shaughnessy's mobile home at Ogden, a community of about 1,960 people in Riley County.
Mattingly said her heart sank when she realized Montgomery wasn't coming with her. Mattingly said she saw terror in her half-sister's bright green eyes.
Her terror was well-founded, said Montgomery's attorneys, Kelley Henry and Amy Harwell. Shaughnessy beat her children with belts, cords and hangers, put them in cold showers and put duct tape over Montgomery's mouth to silence her, the attorneys said.
Shaughnessy forced Montgomery to have sex with men in exchange for money and services, and also punished her children by killing the family dog in front of them, smashing its head with a shovel, the attorneys said.
Shaughnessy in 1974 married her third husband, Jack Kleiner, a divorced father of five. Court records say Kleiner drank heavily, beat his wife and children, and made his daughters take off their clothes before he spanked them.
The family moved often. Montgomery lived during her childhood in Washington, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, California and Texas. Court records describe her as a quiet loner who spent a lot of time reading books.
When Montgomery was in her mid-teens, she was sexually assaulted by Kleiner and three or four of his friends, according to court records.
A sworn statement from David Kidwell Sr. — identified as being Montgomery's cousin and a deputy sheriff — said she cried as she told him Kleiner and his friends on more than one occasion had raped her for hours, then "urinated on her like trash."
"I live with regret for not speaking up about what happened to Lisa," Kidwell said, adding that he “just didn’t know what to do.”
Kleiner and Shaughnessy divorced in 1985, with Shaughnessy contending she once walked in on Kleiner and Montgomery having sex. The judge reached no conclusion about whether sexual activity occurred but said he considered it "inexcusable" that Shaughnessy didn't report the situation to authorities and get counseling for Montgomery.
Kleiner told a reporter in 2005 that Shaughnessy's allegation was made up to support her divorce case and he was never found guilty of anything.
“I never molested her in any way, shape or form,” said Kleiner, who died in 2009.
Her husband, who is her stepbrother, also rapes and beats her
As Montgomery grew up, court records say, observers noticed that she increasingly appeared to be "spaced out," "not emotionally present" or in "her own little world."
Montgomery graduated in 1986 from high school at Cleveland, Okla., with hopes of joining the Air Force to earn money for college.
Meanwhile, her mother in 1985 had married Richard Boman, whose son — Montgomery's stepbrother, Carl Boman — got Montgomery pregnant. They married in 1986.
Montgomery gave birth to three daughters and a son from 1987 to 1990, court records say.
Carl Boman wasn't the father of one of the girls, according to court records, which say Montgomery was sterilized after the last birth in 1990.
Montgomery and Carl Boman divorced, remarried and divorced again in 1998.
A home video shows Carl Boman raping and beating Montgomery, said her half-brother, Teddy Kleiner, who gave a sworn statement saying he had seen it.
"It was violent and like a scene out of a horror movie," he said. "My sister was crying and in pain. I felt sick watching the video. I didn't know what to do or how to talk to my sister about it."
Teddy Kleiner, the son of Shaughnessy and Jack Kleiner, was 45 years old when he was fatally shot in 2019 in North Topeka. The case was ruled a homicide and remains unsolved.
Montgomery's family moved from place to place during her adult years, continuing the pattern she had known as a child. She lived at 61 addresses in the 36 years before she went to prison, court documents show.
Those records say questions were raised about her ability to function as an effective parent after her house was found to be "filthy," her children were seen running naked in her yard and one of her daughters, then 2½ years old, ingested a bottle of Tylenol in 1993.
She moved in 1999 to Melvern, a town about 40 miles south of Topeka with 375 people today. She became involved with Kevin Montgomery, a divorced electrician with children of his own, and they married the following year.
Lisa Montgomery tried to get counseling the year before she killed Stinnett but wasn't connected to a quality provider, her attorneys said.
She faked pregnancies several times during her marriages to Carl Boman and Kevin Montgomery, court records say.
In December 2004, Boman filed a court action seeking custody of two of their children who still lived with Montgomery while arguing that the pregnancy Montgomery was faking illustrated she was an unfit mother, according to newspaper accounts.
Chilling email address is used to deceive victim: 'fischer4kids'
Montgomery contacted Stinnett, 23, after meeting her at a dog show earlier that year at Abilene, in north-central Kansas, where they posed with others in a photo.
Stinnett lived with her husband, Zeb, in Skidmore, Mo., a town near the state's northwest corner with fewer than 300 people today.
Montgomery and Stinnett participated in the "Ratter Chatter" online message board for rat terrier dog enthusiasts. Newspaper accounts show Montgomery had upset other users of that board by making false statements, including claiming to be pregnant.
Montgomery used the fake name of "Darlene Fischer" and the chilling email address of “email@example.com” as she set up a meeting with Stinnett, according to the charging affidavit in the case. Montgomery claimed to live in northwest Missouri.
Montgomery said she was seeking a dog for a Christmas gift. Stinnett's husband was at work, and Stinnett was on the phone with her mother, Becky Harper, when Montgomery's dirty red Toyota pulled up on the afternoon of Dec. 16.
"Oh, they're here, I've got to go," she said.
Randy Strong, one of the investigators who would later get Montgomery to confess, said she apparently used part of a clothesline to create a garrote, slipping it over Stinnett's head from behind, probably as she was on her knees putting a puppy into a dog carrier.
Montgomery strangled Stinnett into unconsciousness, then sliced into her stomach with the steak knife, Strong said. Stinnett came to, grabbing at Montgomery's knife and pulling out some hair before Montgomery strangled her to death.
Montgomery took Stinnett’s baby, clamped the umbilical cord and used baby wipes to clean her.
On the trip home, she stopped in Topeka and called her husband to say she had gone into labor while Christmas shopping and had given birth at a Topeka birthing center.
The next morning, Lisa and Kevin Montgomery showed off a newborn girl dressed in a pink bonnet as they ate breakfast at the Whistle Stop Cafe in downtown Melvern. They introduced her as their daughter, Abigail, and made multiple other stops.
The couple returned to their home near Melvern, which was being watched by investigators working to identify the woman who had told Stinnett she was Darlene Fischer.
Investigators find Montgomery at home, holding the baby
Montgomery smelled like a “sour ashtray and body sweat" as Don Fritz and Randy Strong interrogated her on Dec. 17, 2004, Strong recalled.
Strong was a police detective in Maryville, Mo., 14 miles northeast of Skidmore, and Fritz was a detective at Cameron, also in northwest Missouri. They had been called in as part of the Northwest Missouri Major Case Squad, which was working with the FBI to identify Stinnett's killer and find the missing child.
As Strong and other investigators were about to pull into the driveway of Montgomery's house, he said, he learned via a phone call that the last email Stinnett received had come from that home. A herd of rat terriers greeted them.
"That sent a chill up my spine," Strong said. "We knew we were walking into the killer's house."
Kevin Montgomery let investigators inside. As Strong crossed the threshold, he saw a TV set airing an Amber Alert about the abduction of Stinnett's baby.
‘Let it be done’: Bobbie Jo Stinnett’s hometown waits as killer’s execution date nears
"I looked to my right and there was Lisa Montgomery on the sofa, holding the baby," he said.
The infant — found later that day to weigh 5 pounds, 11 ounces — was "very still" and didn't cry, which concerned Strong.
A former paramedic who had watched the births of all three of his children, Strong also considered the baby's head to be unusually round. Babies born naturally tend to have misshapen heads initially because of the pressure experienced as they go through the birth canal, he said.
Strong said he and Fritz questioned Montgomery using a "good cop/bad cop" approach.
As Fritz patted Montgomery on the back of her hand, Strong said he noticed dried blood and tissue embedded beneath her fingernails. DNA testing later showed they were Stinnett's.
Montgomery first claimed to have had the baby at a Topeka birthing center but began changing her story after investigators separated her from her husband and the infant, Strong said. Montgomery then said she had given birth at home with help from two female friends and, later, that she had given birth alone.
As long as she was given cigarettes, Montgomery continued to talk, Strong said. Eventually, Montgomery admitted she had acted alone in killing Stinnett and taking her baby.
Montgomery told investigators she was surprised at how nicely they had treated her, considering what she had done.
Authorities also questioned Kevin Montgomery but concluded he wasn't involved. A newspaper article quoted him as saying he had been convinced his wife was pregnant and had given birth.
“I held that baby proudly,” he said.
The five investigators who went to Montgomery's home that day recently began communicating with one another again, said Strong, who is now sheriff of Nodaway County, which includes Maryville and Skidmore.
In addition to Strong and Fritz, those investigators were FBI Special Agents Mike Miller and Scott Gentine and Topeka police officer Tom Glor. While all five are haunted by Stinnett's murder, they are also "bonded for life," Strong said.
He said he was "reduced to tears" when Zeb Stinnett sent him a message last month on the 16th anniversary of Montgomery's arrest for the murder of his wife. His message contained a "very heartfelt thank you."
Strong said he arranged for that message to be shared with the four others, "because we were all a part of that."
Brain expert at trial says crime committed while in 'mental fog'
Emotions ran high in 2007 as Montgomery was tried in federal court for kidnapping resulting in death. She pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Defense attorney Fred Duchardt told jurors that sexual abuse during her childhood had caused Montgomery to become mentally ill and killed her soul.
Prosecutors said Montgomery was faking mental illness, noting that many people are sexually abused, but few go on to kill.
Montgomery suffered from pseudocyesis, the false belief she was pregnant, jurors heard from Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, director of the Center of Brain and Cognition at the University of California in San Diego.
Ramachandran said women who suffer childhood sexual abuse and whose minds revolve around babies and pregnancy are predisposed to suffering pseudocyesis, a condition in which they show physical symptoms of pregnancy, including enlargement of the breasts and stomach, morning sickness and cravings for certain foods.
Ramachandran said Montgomery told him she didn't remember killing Stinnett or cutting the baby out of her body. He testified that Montgomery had been in a dissociative state, or "mental fog," at the time.
Montgomery also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and major depression, jurors were told.
Jurors heard an audiotape of Harper, Stinnett's mother, calling 911 after finding her body. Harper told a dispatcher her daughter's womb appeared to have "exploded" and that blood was "everywhere." Stinnett wasn't breathing and was cold.
"God, no, please," she said. "Come on, baby. Please, honey."
At least five of the 12 jurors and three alternate jurors wiped away tears.
Prosecutors shared records showing Montgomery had visited a website featuring a video of a live C-section birth, described as lasting “from first cut to last stitch,” and had made a practice run by driving the roughly 350 miles from Melvern to Skidmore and back the day before the killing.
In closing arguments, assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Whitworth asked the jury to think about Stinnett's daughter, Victoria Jo Stinnett.
“Every time she has a birthday, it will also be the anniversary of the slaughter of her mother,” Whitworth said. “Every year. For the rest of her life.”
The six-man, six-woman jury in October 2007 found Montgomery guilty and recommended she be executed. U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner upheld the jury's recommendation the following April.
In recommending execution, the jury spelled out six aggravating factors supporting capital punishment. One was the presence of substantial planning and premeditation.
Investigator views Montgomery as 'evil personified'
Randy Strong, who investigated the case, is unhappy that some people are asking that Montgomery’s life be spared. Montgomery is "evil personified," he said.
"I don't think people understand how bad this was," Strong said.
He stressed that the jury heard testimony about her mental illness and her history of being abused, yet still unanimously recommended her execution.
"I have seen a lot of horrible things happen to women and children in my more than 40 years in law enforcement," Strong said. But none of those other victims responded by killing a woman and cutting her baby out of her stomach, he said.
He also noted that after she confessed to killing Stinnett, she changed her story to contend the murder was committed by her half-brother Tommy Kleiner.
Kleiner, the son of Shaughnessy and Jack Kleiner, was meeting with a parole officer at the time of the killing, Strong said.
"That's how evil this woman is," Strong said. "She tried to throw her own brother under the bus for a crime that she committed."
Tommy Kleiner and Montgomery have stayed in touch. He was being held in the Shawnee County Jail in 2018 when he filed a federal lawsuit contending the county was violating his constitutional rights by preventing him from sending letters to Montgomery.
“My sister is on death row,” Kleiner wrote in the lawsuit petition. “So my letters are important.”
'She was traumatized,' a previous attorney says. 'She was sick.'
Montgomery was represented briefly after her arrest by Ron Wurtz, a now-retired attorney who has represented dozens of capital case defendants. He said she stood out to the extent there appeared to be “something wrong" with her.
Though capital case defendants tend to be confused and stunned, those emotions were heightened with Montgomery, who had trouble responding to questions, Wurtz said.
“It was clear that she was traumatized, that she was somewhere else,” he said. “She was sick. I’m not a psychiatrist, so I can’t go any further than that.”
A longtime death penalty opponent, Wurtz said he considers it "idiotic" that Montgomery is to be executed.
“I can’t understand why they have to kill this woman, knowing her background and everything that happened,” he said.
Painful aftermath lingers, residents of towns tied to the murder say
Skidmore has suffered lasting effects as a result of Stinnett's murder, said Strong, the investigator who helped prod Montgomery to confess. Residents there tend to think her execution would bring an appropriate end to a painful chapter in their city's history, he said.
Residents of Melvern, where Montgomery lived, have been divided about whether she should pay for her crimes with her life, said Joe Warner, who was mayor of Melvern at the time of the murder.
"There was a lot of talk both ways on it," he said when contacted by phone at his new home in Texas.
Warner said the killing had left Melvern residents “stunned.”
Today, residents are tired of Melvern being connected with Lisa Montgomery, said current Mayor Lyndon Weddle, who describes Melvern as a friendly rural community where people wave when they pass each other.
Weddle said she moved to Melvern when she retired nine years ago because she wanted peace and quiet after more than 30 years as a Topeka police officer.
She said Montgomery's crimes have affected the way Melvern is perceived in the same manner anti-gay picketing by Westboro Baptist Church has influenced perceptions about Topeka.
Melvern residents want that perception to end, she said.
She can appear out of touch with reality, say lawyers fighting for her life
Lisa Montgomery has been held at the Carswell Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, for 12 years. She learned Oct. 16 that she had been scheduled to die by lethal injection on Dec. 8. When she called her attorneys that day, she could hardly speak.
"She was hyperventilating," Henry said. "It was pretty awful."
Montgomery's execution date was subsequently bumped back to Jan. 12.
Henry said she was surprised to see Montgomery scheduled for execution so soon, considering 30 other inmates on federal death row were sentenced before her.
Henry stressed that no one faces a death sentence linked to the 16 other U.S. cases from 1987 to 2015 in which a woman has attacked a pregnant woman and her unborn child in an effort to take the child and ended up killing one or both.
Fourteen of those offenders are serving long prison sentences, while the two others died by suicide in custody, according to a list Henry provided.
Montgomery was put on suicide watch as soon as her execution date was set, Henry said, adding that Montgomery had previously attempted suicide but not since 2012.
"They put her on suicide watch to keep her from killing herself, so that they can execute her," she said.
After previously being allowed contact with a limited number of inmates, Montgomery was moved to a solitary confinement cell at Carswell and kept there 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Henry said.
To help keep her mind occupied, Henry said, Montgomery was initially given one crayon and one piece of paper, but nothing else.
Montgomery wasn't allowed eyeglasses, though she is far-sighted and near-sighted, or a CPAP machine, which has been prescribed since 2015 for her sleep apnea, Henry said.
Montgomery's number of crayons and pieces of paper has since been increased to 10 each. She is permitted Sudoku puzzles and coloring pages and one book at a time.
Henry said Montgomery was expected to be transferred by Jan. 10 to the penitentiary at Terre Haute, Ind., her designated place of execution.
As her attorneys fight for her life, Montgomery has at times seemed out of touch with reality, Henry said: Her mental illness causes her to disconnect when life becomes too terrible to endure.
That’s happened since Montgomery's childhood, when the terror she experienced while being raped forced her to retreat emotionally into an imaginary house, where “everything is fine,” Henry said.
Her attorneys say that while Montgomery feels deep remorse for her crimes, her understanding of her situation waxes and wanes.
"Lisa’s trauma was so severe that it compromised her neurological functioning and development," they said in a written statement. "As a result, Lisa has trouble processing information and navigating social relationships. She struggles to maintain her own hygiene, loses focus during conversations with others and has trouble planning simple tasks."
Henry said Montgomery seemed out of touch with reality when Henry and Harwell, who work in Tennessee, traveled by plane to visit her in October and early November at Fort Worth. Both became infected with COVID-19, believing it to be transmitted during the prison visit.
A federal judge in November postponed Montgomery's execution from Dec. 8 until Jan. 12 to give her attorneys more time to file her clemency petition, after concluding that their COVID-19 symptoms limited their ability to file the petition.
Former inmate and friend sees a 'good person' side
Montgomery is worried that her fellow inmates will have trouble coping with her upcoming execution, said her friend Toby Dorr.
In a letter in late November written with a black crayon, Montgomery told Dorr that other inmates at Carswell took it "really hard" when her execution date was set.
Montgomery lamented that she couldn't be present to console them because she was in solitary confinement, said Dorr, Montgomery's friend since they met in a federal prison in 2006.
Dorr met Montgomery after being imprisoned for helping an inmate escape in 2006 as Dorr ran a dog training program for inmates at Lansing Correctional Facility in northeast Kansas.
Dorr's marriage was failing when she fell in love with John Manard, a convicted murderer 21 years her junior. She helped him escape in a dog crate and went to prison after a vehicle chase 12 days later ended with their capture.
Dorr has since been released from prison and remarried. She lives near Kansas City, Mo.
A lifelong opponent of the death penalty, Dorr said she wants the world to know about Lisa Montgomery the person.
"Today the death penalty has a face — of my friend — and I just can't be quiet about it," she said.
Dorr said she and Montgomery were in the same pod, in which inmates may gather outside their cells, in 2006 and 2007 at Leavenworth Detention Center, a for-profit federal facility in northeast Kansas.
At that time, Montgomery was awaiting trial.
"The Lisa I knew was a good person who cared about the other women in the pod and was quiet and generous and kind," Dorr said. "I think that side of Lisa needs to be out there."
Other inmates tended to keep Montgomery at arm's length because of the brutality of what she had done, Dorr said, but she liked Montgomery's quiet nature.
"She seemed like a real person I could connect with and build a relationship with inside prison," Dorr said.
Montgomery achieved considerable emotional growth once she was put in a stable environment where she felt safe and was receiving psychiatric medications for the first time, Dorr said.
Montgomery often read her Bible or did things with her hands, including writing, quilting, and making placemats and bookmarks, Dorr said.
Montgomery also talked about the abuse she had endured from her stepfather, Jack Kleiner, and the first of her two husbands, Carl Boman, Dorr said.
Second husband, half-sister want her life spared
Montgomery's second husband — Kevin Montgomery, who lives near Melvern and remains married to her — voiced support for her bid for clemency in a statement released through his wife's attorneys.
“I support my wife and her request for clemency, but because I am sick with COVID and am caring for my parents who are also sick with COVID, I ask the media to respect our need for rest and privacy," he said.
Lisa Montgomery's half-sister — Diane Mattingly, who was separated from her in 1972 — has taken a more high-profile role in trying to save her life. She has written opinion pieces published in Elle and Newsweek.
When Mattingly attended Montgomery's sentencing hearing in 2007, which was the first time she had seen her sister in about 35 years, she said Montgomery's face bore the same look of fear it had when they were separated.
Mattingly said she was fortunate to have been moved to a loving home of high school history teacher and coach Floyd Gwin; his wife, Zella Gwin; and their three biological children.
The family treated Mattingly as one of their own, and gave her a sense of belonging and self-worth, she said. When Floyd Gwin died last July at age 81, Mattingly was listed among the survivors in his obituary. Zella Gwin survives.
Mattingly has enjoyed a "blessed life," she said.
She lives in Lebanon, Ky., is married with two adult children and has worked the past 19 years for the state of Kentucky.
"Being loved unconditionally helped me heal, find a caring husband and raise two children who have hearts of gold," Mattingly wrote. "While my path to healing was very hard, the difference between Lisa and me is that no one ever intervened to rescue Lisa from a lifetime of abuse."
Mattingly's biggest regret, she said, is that she didn’t tell her foster family about being beaten and raped, because she feared they wouldn't want her any more if she did.
"If I did speak up, maybe Zella and Floyd would have gone back for Lisa," she wrote. "Maybe she could have been saved, too."
Lawyers make last-hope appeal to White House
President Donald Trump can "break the chain of evil" experienced by Montgomery and other members of her family by granting clemency and commuting her sentence to life imprisonment, Mattingly said.
The clemency process enables convicted criminals to request mercy and ask the nation's executive branch to step in, Henry said. For example, she said, the jury that recommended Montgomery be executed wasn't asked to consider the impact that would have on her four children and 12 grandchildren.
Likewise, that jury wasn't directed to consider whether Montgomery was severely mentally ill, which Montgomery's attorneys are asking the president to take into account.
Henry said there is no question that Montgomery has severe mental illness, noting that federal authorities have administered her antipsychotic medications since her arrest in 2004.
If Mattingly could speak directly to Trump, she said, she would tell him: "Please don’t take my sister. She was broken by people who were supposed to be her caregivers. She needs someone for once in her life to be on her side.”
This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Lisa Montgomery's federal execution nears, killed woman, cut out baby