SKIDMORE, Mo. — Community members held a candlelight vigil at a downtown park to support the family and friends of the late Bobbie Jo Stinnett on Tuesday evening, the original date of her killer’s execution now postponed to Jan. 12, 2021.
Singing “This Little Light of Mine,” and “Amazing Grace,” the group of around 25 people held candles and stood close together listening to those who spoke.
Cheryl Huston, one of the organizers of the vigil said it was good to see everyone support each other, and that about 15 years ago many of them met at the same location on a much colder day to remember Bobbie Jo.
Stinnett was murdered by Lisa Montgomery who has been on death row since being sentenced to death for the brutal murder of the eight-month pregnant woman and removal of her baby in 2004.
“As the news traveled across the country and the world, that baby became everybody’s baby,” Huston said. “Becky (Harper) and her family have waited 15 years for justice, but will probably never feel like it’s enough.”
She said Stinnett’s daughter Victoria will soon be 16 years old and looks like her mom.
“Skidmore is a great community and we are here to wrap our collective arms around Becky and her family to let them know we are here for them,” Huston said. “Skidmore has gotten a bad rap for years and hopefully people will see that we’re just a community like everybody else. We take care of each other and look out for each other.”
She told the group that the Nodaway-Holt Class of 2000 reached out to let the family know Stinnett’s classmates also offer their support.
At Newton Hall, Meagan Morrow, friend of Stinnett, stared while stirring a large crock pot of hot chocolate she made for vigil attendees who met after the event. She and other friends recalled the days after their friend’s murder, from the anxiety of trying to drive through town with all the news satellite trucks to her funeral and the overwhelming amount of press.
She and others remembered the day itself, hearing about it from others and not believing it at first.
“Those things don’t happen here and they don’t happen to Bobbie, you have the wrong person,” Morrow said. “I will never forget that.”
She and friends remembered the tragic event, but also their friend who they said had a “very pretty, but subtle look, not extreme and not plain.”
They said they weren’t at all surprised that she would “friend” someone who showed an interest in dogs. Morrow said she loved them.
“I think the last time I saw her she was with Zeb up at this bar and she was pregnant,” she said. “I just hope all the events bring some sort of peace and comfort to Becky and all of Bobbi’s family. I hope as many people out there that are protesting the death penalty and wanting Lisa to be saved, I hope there’s that many more voices (against) what she did to Bobbie Jo and what she took from Becky, Victoria and this town.”
Morrow even said that recent photos of Montgomery seem to show that she’s trying to look more like her friend.
“I hope she’s fearful,” she said. “I hope she has panic attacks. I couldn’t imagine having a date stamped on your life, but I hope there is one on hers.”
U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss delayed the execution of Montgomery due to her lawyers contracting COVID-19. According to a statement from her attorneys the district court’s ruling gives Montgomery an opportunity to prepare and present a clemency application. She will now have the opportunity to present evidence to the president and request that he commute her sentence to life imprisonment.
Originally, Stinnett’s family was to spend Tuesday in Terre Haute, Indiana, where Montgomery had been scheduled for execution. That is now set for Jan. 12, 2021.