Barr Orders Execution of 2 Death Row Federal Inmates for ‘Heinous Murders’

By Alexander Watson | October 27, 2020 | 3:51pm EDT
Lisa Montgomery, left, and her victim, Bobbie Jo Stinnett.  (Screenshot)
Lisa Montgomery, left, and her victim, Bobbie Jo Stinnett. (Screenshot)

(CNS News) -- Two federal inmates are scheduled to die by lethal injection in December, according to the Department of Justice, one for the murder of two Christian missionaries and one for stabbing a pregnant woman to death, cutting the baby from her womb, and kidnapping the child.

Attorney General William P. Barr ordered the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule the executions of the two federal death row inmates, said the DOJ in a press release.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Lisa Montgomery and Brandon Bernard are both scheduled for lethal injection on December 8, and December 10 respectively.

According to the DOJ, “Lisa Montgomery fatally strangled a pregnant woman, Bobbie Jo Stinnett, cut open her body, and kidnapped her baby. 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. 

Attorney General William P. Barr.  (Getty Images)
Attorney General William P. Barr. (Getty Images)

“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.”

“Montgomery, who confessed to murdering Stinnett and abducting her child, was found guilty by a jury in the U.S District Court for the Western District of Missouri in October 2007. The jury unanimously recommended a sentence of death ‘which the court imposed.’”

Brandon Bernard, according to the press release, along with his accomplices “brutally murdered two youth ministers, Todd and Stacie Bagley, on a military reservation in 1999.”

(Screenshot, Brandon Bernard in center.)
(Screenshot, Brandon Bernard in center.)

According to the DOJ, “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 the 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.”

One of Bernard’s accomplices, Christopher Vialva, was executed on Sept. 22, 2020 for his role in the murder of the Bagleys.

Attorney General William Barr has been criticized for authorizing the resumption of federal executions since his directive to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, in July 2019, to adopt an addendum to the Federal Execution Protocol which would clear the way for executions to begin again. The first people who were executed were all convicted of particularly brutal and heinous murders involving children and the elderly, and in one case the murder of an entire family by drowning.

According to the July 25, 2019 press release, on the resumption of federal executions, Attorney General Barr said, “Congress has expressly authorized the death penalty through legislation adopted by the people’s representatives in both houses of Congress and signed by the President.”

“Under Administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals, including these five murderers, each of whom was convicted by a jury of his peers after a full and fair proceeding,” stated the press release. “The Justice Department upholds the rule of law—and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”

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