Expert: Suspect Altered Ultrasound Pics

The Associated Press
Thursday, October 11, 2007; 9:12 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A woman charged with killing a pregnant woman and cutting the baby from her womb had altered ultrasound pictures of developing fetuses and received e-mails threatening to expose her lies about being pregnant, a computer expert testified Thursday.

Mark Johnson, who analyzed Lisa Montgomery's computer, testified he found Internet searches about Caesarean sections, birth certificates and the medical facility where Montgomery later claimed to have given birth _ all at the same time her ex-husband was threatening to expose her.

Prosecutors allege Montgomery, 39, was faking a pregnancy for months before she strangled Bobbie Jo Stinnett, 23, at Stinnett's home on Dec. 16, 2004, cut out the baby girl and then passed off the infant as her own.

Montgomery has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping resulting in death, and her lawyers are pursuing an insanity defense. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty if Montgomery is convicted.

Johnson's computer examination uncovered e-mails in which Montgomery's ex-husband planned to use her lies about being pregnant to get custody of their children. "I feel very confident about getting the kids, who want to stay with me," Carl Boman wrote.

A custody hearing was set for Jan. 25, 2005. Boman testified Tuesday that Montgomery called him the day before Stinnett was killed and told him that she would prove him wrong.

Johnson said he also found Web searches for information on Stinnett, as well as visits to sites where Stinnett had posted pictures of herself pregnant and ultrasound pictures of her baby.

Montgomery and Stinnett shared an interest in dog breeding. Earlier witnesses testified that an e-mail address registered at Montgomery's house was used to inquire about dogs and obtain directions to Stinnett's home.

Johnson detailed how Montgomery's computer was used to create a new e-mail account using the name Darlene Fischer. Prosecutors have said Montgomery used that account to set up her meeting with Stinnett, under the guise of adopting a rat terrier puppy.

Sgt. Randy Strong, an investigator with the Maryville police department, was one of the first investigators to enter Montgomery's home in Melvern, Kan., on Dec. 17, 2004, where he found Montgomery sitting on the couch holding a baby. He testified Thursday that Montgomery initially denied even knowing about Stinnett's death or that a baby was missing from Skidmore, Mo.

But after being questioned at a police annex in Lyndon, Kan., Montgomery eventually looked at the floor and said, "You have Bobbie Jo's baby," Strong said.

Strong testified that Montgomery told officers that before killing Stinnett, she had briefly reconsidered taking Stinnett's baby, but "something out of character for her happened" and she went ahead with her plan.

FBI Special Agent Scott Gentine testified Thursday that Montgomery occasionally sobbed while talking to him, but then composed herself and continued. "I don't know if she was remorseful or sorry that she got caught," he said.

Besides convicting or acquitting her, jurors could find Montgomery not guilty by reason of insanity. If that is the verdict, she would undergo a mental evaluation and a judge would decide if she will be released or committed to a mental institution.


Associated Press writer Heather Hollingsworth contributed to this report.

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