WASHINGTON D.C. – On Friday (10/16/20) Attorney General William P. Barr directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule the executions of two federal death-row inmates, both of whom were convicted of especially heinous murders at least 13 years ago.
The first is for Lisa Montgomery who fatally strangled a pregnant woman, Bobbie Jo Stinnett, cut open her body, and kidnapped her baby.
According to the press release, in December 2004, as part of a premeditated murder-kidnap scheme, Montgomery drove from her home in Kansas to Stinnett’s home in Missouri, purportedly to purchase a puppy. Once inside the residence, Montgomery attacked and strangled Stinnett—who was eight months pregnant—until the victim lost consciousness. Using a kitchen knife, Montgomery then cut into Stinnett’s abdomen, causing her to regain consciousness. A struggle ensued, and Montgomery strangled Stinnett to death. Montgomery then removed the baby from Stinnett’s body, took the baby with her, and attempted to pass it off as her own. Montgomery subsequently confessed to murdering Stinnett and abducting her child. In October 2007, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri found Montgomery guilty of federal kidnapping resulting in death, and unanimously recommended a death sentence, which the court imposed.
Her conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal, and her request for collateral relief was rejected by every court that considered it. Montgomery is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on December 8, 2020, at U.S. Penitentiary Terre Haute, Indiana.
The second execution was scheduled for Brandon Bernard.
Federal authorities say that he and his accomplices brutally murdered two youth ministers, Todd and Stacie Bagley, on a military reservation in 1999. After Todd Bagley agreed to give a ride to several of Bernard’s accomplices, they pointed a gun at him, forced him and Stacie into the trunk of their car, and drove the couple around for hours while attempting to steal their money and pawn Stacie’s wedding ring. While locked in the trunk, the couple spoke with their abductors about God and pleaded for their lives. The abductors eventually parked on the Fort Hood military reservation, where Bernard and another accomplice doused the car with lighter fluid as the couple, still locked in the trunk, sang and prayed. After Stacie said, “Jesus loves you,” and “Jesus, take care of us,” one of the accomplices shot both Todd and Stacie in the head—killing Todd and knocking Stacie unconscious. Bernard then lit the car on fire, killing Stacie through smoke inhalation.
In June 2000, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas found Bernard guilty of, among other offenses, two counts of murder within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, and unanimously recommended a death sentence. His conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal, and his request for collateral relief was rejected by every court that considered it. Bernard is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on December 10, 2020, at U.S. Penitentiary Terre Haute, Indiana.
One of his accomplices, Christopher Vialva, was executed for his role in the Bagleys’ murder on September 22, 2020.