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Hundreds ask for clemency for woman who killed pregnant woman, stole baby

Nov. 10 (UPI) -- More than 1,000 supporters, anti-domestic violence groups and prosecutors have sent letters to President Donald Trump asking him to commute the death sentence of a woman convicted of murdering a pregnant Missouri woman and kidnapping her baby.

Lisa Montgomery, 52, of Kansas, is set to be executed Dec. 8 at the U.S. Penitentiary Terre Haute, Ind. She's one of several death row inmates to be scheduled for lethal injection this year after the U.S. Justice Department resumed federal executions this summer.

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Montgomery was sentenced to death in 2007 for the 2004 death of Bobbie Jo Stinnett. Prosecutors said Montgomery visited Stinnett's home under the guise of purchasing a puppy. Once there, though, she strangled the woman, who was eight months pregnant, then cut the baby from her body. Montgomery tried to pass the newborn off as her own.

Police later recovered the baby and returned her safe to her father.

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Montgomery's supporters said she should be spared the death penalty because she has severe mental illness after experiencing physical, emotional and sexual abuse as a child. They said her mother trafficked her as a teenager.

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"These crimes are inevitably the product of serious mental illness. Women who commit such crimes also are likely to have been victimized themselves. These are important factors that make death sentences inappropriate," said a letter written by former district attorneys Stanley Garnett and Harry Zimmerman.

A separate letter by hundreds of organizations and individuals who advocate against the abuse of woman said Montgomery was "consistently failed by people and systems that should have helped her."

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U.S. Attorney General William Barr resumed federal executions in July after a 17-year hiatus. Daniel Lewis Lee, Wesley Purkey and Dustin Honken were executed in July; Lezmond Mitchell and Keith Dwayne Nelson in August; and William LeCroy and Vialva in September.

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