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‘She Shouldn’t Have to Die’



diane mattingly and lisa montgomery


[Editor’s Note: The Trump administration executed Lisa Montgomery early Wednesday morning. She was the only woman on federal death row, and the first woman to be federally executed in nearly 70 years. Her death “was far from justice,” Montgomery’s attorney Kelley Henry tells in a statement. “She should never have faced a death sentence in the first place.” When a female executioner removed Montgomery’s face mask to ask if she had any last words, Montgomery reportedly responded, “No.” Following Montgomery’s death, we are re-publishing’s interview with her sister, Diane Mattingly, from November.]

One week before Christmas in 2004, a pregnant 23-year-old dog breeder named Bobbie Jo Stinnett was strangled to death at her home in Skidmore, Missouri. Under the guise of purchasing a puppy, Lisa Montgomery set up a meeting with Stinnett. Once inside her house, Montgomery killed Stinnett and then removed her 8-month-old fetus with a kitchen knife. Montgomery, a mentally ill woman with childhood trauma stemming from years of rape and physical assault, fled with the baby and tried to pass it off as her own, proudly announcing the “birth” of her daughter to friends and family.

Almost exactly 16 years after Stinnett’s murder, Montgomery, at age 52, is set to be executed, making her the first female federal inmate to die by lethal injection since the Trump administration resurrected federal executions in July. Her lawyers say she is diagnosed with bipolar disorder and complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and regularly dissociates and hallucinates. Below, Montgomery’s 57-year-old half-sister Diane Mattingly opens up to about her sister’s tragic past—and why she thinks sparing her life can “break the chain of evil actions.” Mattingly’s account of the abuse she and Montgomery both endured growing up was part of her testimony in court in support of Montgomery’s unsuccessful motion to vacate the death sentence.

It was a drizzly morning in Ogden, Kansas. I was eight years old, living in a trailer park with my abusive step-mom Judy who, after screaming on the phone for what seemed like an hour, was now squatting down in front of me. “Well,” she hissed in my face, “they’re coming to take you away, hope you’re happy.”

I was. In fact, I’d never been happier. But when two child protective services workers knocked on our front door later that day, my heart sank to my stomach. I was finally going into foster care, but Lisa, my little sister and best friend, was staying behind. She was four years younger than me, with wispy hair, and a sweet demeanor. When I turned back to take one last look of her, there was terror in her bright green eyes.

That was 1969. I didn’t see Lisa again until 2007, when I testified at her sentencing hearing for brutally murdering a pregnant woman named Bobbie Jo Stinnett; she cut the baby out of Stinnett’s belly with a knife. On the stand, Lisa looked just as scared as the day I left her 36 years ago.

My sister has been sentenced to die for her crime. If executed, she will become the first woman to be federally executed in the U.S. in 70 years. I will always love her, but what she did was the most awful thing a person can do. Lisa should spend the rest of her life in prison, no doubt, but she shouldn’t have to die. Because maybe if she hadn’t been failed by the people she needed most in society, she could have been part of it.

diane mattingly as a young girl

Diane, age 8. 


lisa montgomery as a young girl

Lisa, age unknown. 

Courtesy of Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery

My whole life changed the day Lisa came home from the hospital. She was itty-bitty and so beautiful. Judy had her all wrapped up in a pink bundle, and when I squeezed her hand she looked at me and smiled. I fell in love immediately.

My dad, who was in the military, wasn’t around much, so I helped Judy take care of Lisa. When she outgrew her crib, she moved into my room. Our twin beds were so close they practically touched, and most nights we fell asleep holding hands. Judy didn’t allow much music or television in our home, but we did have one tea set for playing “house.” It was always me as the mom, and Lisa as the daughter.

diane mattingly

Diane, here as a little girl, says her “sole purpose in life” became to protect her baby sister.

Courtesy Diane Mattingly

As we got older, Judy became abusive, hitting us with brooms and belts and whatever else she got her hands on. I stepped in to take the brunt of it. She would poke her finger into my chest over and over in the same spot until it bruised. She forced me to eat raw onions until I cried. She would beat us and scream.

Worse than that was Judy’s ability to find out what hurt you most and use it against you. For me, it was a fear of abandonment. When I was six, Judy ordered me to strip down naked, leave the house, and never come back. I waited outside in the freezing cold, before she finally opened the door to let me back in. I can’t tell you if it was 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or 30 minutes, but I was out there alone, and so scared.

Protecting Lisa became my sole purpose in life. I shielded her from the random babysitters, often older men, Judy left us with for her near-nightly outings to the bar. When one of them came into our bedroom and raped me, I prayed Lisa would be safe from him.

Periodically, Judy would drop me off at a friends house for a few weeks. When I turned seven, I stayed with another family for nine months. The day I came back, Lisa ran to me with open arms like I had just returned home from war. She had endured unimaginable abuses in my absence. When child protective services picked me up six months later, she would suffer even worse.

I vomited violently the entire hour-long car ride to my foster home in Salina. My new family wasn’t rich by any means, but they had a beautiful home with lots of books, toys, puzzles, and games. My room had pink walls adorned with landscape paintings. The sheets on my bed were floral print. The first thing I did was put a framed photo of Lisa on my nightstand.

I’ve always considered myself bruised, but not broken.

Zella, my new mother, had a beautiful warmth to her. Her husband, Floyd, a schoolteacher, instilled in me the importance of getting a good education. They had three children who treated me like I’d always been their sister. We played together and chased each other around, and, on occasion, fought like siblings do. I grew to love reading, devouring mystery novels on weekends. On my first Christmas with them, Zella and Floyd bought me a pink Barbie van. I rode that thing all around the neighborhood.

I’ve always considered myself bruised, but not broken. I still can’t eat onions, or be in small spaces with men. But I have self-worth, and that’s because of certain people, like Zella and Floyd. For the first time in my life, I was happy. But I also had a big secret. I thought if my new family knew how damaged I was—if they found out I’d been beaten and raped—they wouldn’t want me anymore. So I decided not to tell them; to this day, it’s my biggest regret in life.

If I did speak up, maybe Zella and Floyd would have gone back for Lisa. Maybe she could have been saved, too. Instead, she suffered a lifetime of mental, physical, and sexual abuse—and it wasn’t just during her childhood. She was abused as a teenager and well into her adult life, too.

lisa montgomery in prison

If Montgomery, (above, in prison) is executed this winter, she will be one of three people executed under a “lame duck” president in over 100 years; President-elect Joe Biden has said he will stop the federal government’s use of capital punishment.

Courtesy of Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery

I never stopped thinking about Lisa. I tried to track her down once, but Judy moved them around 16 times after I left. When I met my future husband in 1998, I told him all about my long lost baby sister—how beautiful she’d been, how smart, much I missed her.

krt us news story slugged stolenbaby krt photo via kansas city star december 17 bobbie jo stinnett is shown in this 2000 yearbook picture from nodaway holt junior senior high the 23 year old woman was strangled on thursday, december 16, 2004, and her eight month old baby was cut from her womb in skidmore, missouri mvw 2004

Bobbie Jo Stinnett in a high school yearbook photo from 2000, four years before she was killed.

Kansas City Star

One month after our wedding in 2006, a lawyer called me out of the blue asking if I was Lisa’s sister. I couldn’t believe it. “Lisa!” I screamed with joy. “How is she? I want to see her!” There was a long pause before the lawyer said, “You can’t. She’s being accused of murder.”

A part of me always worried that Lisa suffered greatly after I left. But when an investigator visited my home three months later, I learned that she hadn’t just suffered—she had been tortured. Judy and our dad divorced, and she remarried a man who repeatedly raped Lisa and arranged for his friends to rape her, too. During her trial, Lisa’s cousin said in a sworn statement that those men beat her if she “did it wrong,” and urinated on her afterward.

I was only eight-years-old when I left her, and I know there’s not much I could have done. But it’s impossible not to feel an overwhelming sense of guilt that maybe, just maybe, if I’d spoken up all those years ago, Bobbie Jo Stinnett would still be alive—and my baby sister wouldn’t be on death row.

the coffin of bobbie jo stinnett is carried from the prince

More than 400 people attended the funeral for Stinnett in Maryville, Missouri, on December 21, 2004.

New York Daily News ArchiveGetty Images

We reconnected while Lisa was in prison awaiting trial. I wrote to her about my husband, my job, my friends, my children. She told me that she thought about me often growing up. She kept a photo of me on her nightstand, just like the one I had of her.

After Lisa was found guilty in 2007, I testified at her sentencing hearing. She looked so much like my eldest daughter, with the same sea-green eyes, recessed chin, and high cheekbones.

diane mattingly

All of Lisa’s previous attempts to appeal her sentence were rejected, so clemency is the only legal recourse. Diane (above, in a recent photograph) says she hopes someone will finally “stand up” for her sister.

Courtesy Diane Mattingly

It didn’t take long for the jury to decide her fate. The next day, Lisa was sentenced to die. I screamed until I couldn’t scream any more. Didn’t the jury understand that she is ill? It’s hard to keep track of all the times she has been let down by people she’s supposed to trust. Her mom and her dad. Her school teachers. The police. Social Services. Me. Now her government was failing her, too. My heart goes out to the family of Bobbie Jo, of course it does, but we need to break the chain of evil actions.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn’t escaped Judy’s home. Would I have turned out like Lisa? The thought scares me a lot. All I can do right now is pray that, for the first time in Lisa’s life, someone does the right thing and says, “I will stand up for you.”

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

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Hilary Duff Bundles Up in A Pretty Pink Tweed Coat



celebrity sightings in new york   january 22, 2021

Hilary Duff is in New York City right now, filming her TV Land show, Younger. She was photographed in a cozy-looking pink tweed coat with a hot-pink blouse and pussy bow underneath.

Jose Perez/Bauer-GriffinGetty Images

celebrity sightings in new york   january 22, 2021

Jose Perez/Bauer-GriffinGetty Images

Duff is expecting her third child and her second with her husband, Matthew Koma. In an Instagram post on October 24, she posted a video on her of Koma rubbing her stomach on her Instagram story. “We are growing!!! Mostly me…,” she wrote. She and Koma, who married in late 2019, share a daughter, Banks Violet, who was born in October 2018.

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Duff also has an 8-year-old son, Luca Cruz, with her ex-husband, Mike Comrie.

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This past week, Duff shared on Instagram that she is seven months pregnant:
“Worked till midnightWoke up took Banks to gymnasticsHoused an empanada….and a 1/2 OK. …BACK to work.Repeat.Still hanging on to some fashion 7 months pregnant. love you @zara for these stretch pants. Anyone tried that PISTACHIOOOOO drink @Starbucks. Heavy on my mind rn…. I got a lot more thoughts right now but these were the important ones.”

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In December, Duff shared another update with her fans—this time about her long-beloved Disney Channel character, Lizzie McGuire. Initially, a reboot of the early aughts show had been in the works, but after show-runner Terri Minksy left the project, it was up in the air.

“I’ve been so honored to have the character of Lizzie in my life,” Duff wrote in December, confirming the project was officially off. “She has made such a lasting impact on many, including myself. To see the fans’ loyalty and love for her, to this day, means so much to me. I know the efforts and conversations have been everywhere trying to make a reboot work but, sadly & despite everyone’s best efforts, it isn’t going to happen.”

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Who Are Wanda and Vision’s Twins, Billy and Tommy, in WandaVision?



vision paul bettany holding his baby in wandavision

At the end of Wanda Maximoff’s so-fast-it-makes-my-heart-palpitate pregnancy in WandaVision, she gives birth to twin boys named Billy and Tommy. By the looks of it, they’re about 2-3 months old when they’re born. That could be because Hollywood almost never makes newborns actually look like newborns. Alternatively, it could be a sign of Wanda’s sitcom-verse reality moving so quickly it begins to crumble around her. We just don’t know!

Here’s what we do know: The Marvel Cinematic Universe is bringing Billy and Tommy into the fray for a reason. They’re well-known, well-liked characters in the Marvel comics, and their existence in the MCU opens up enormous questions about the future of the franchise. Before we start speculating, here’s what’s important to understand about the Maximoff kiddos.

Billy and Tommy have superpowers.

Marvel Studios/Disney+

Like their mother and father, Billy and Tommy have superhuman skills, which could make raising them in the “normal” suburb of Westview a challenge. (It’s safe to guess that will factor into the Brady Bunch-esque humor of the next few episodes.) In the comics, Billy Maximoff has reality-warping abilities à la his mother, Scarlet Witch, while Tommy can run as fast as his deceased uncle Pietro. Notably, neither of them seem to share any abilities with their father, Vision.

Which makes us wonder if…

They might’ve been crafted from shards of a demon’s soul.

Concerning, I know!

So far, the MCU hasn’t dipped its toe too deep into the mythological components of the Marvel comics universe, apart from its Thor- and Loki-centric storyline. But Marvel has long loved creating larger-than-life villains that take the form of demons, gods, and goddesses (and cosmic entities that like to eat planets whole). So it’s not a stretch to think WandaVision might shepherd in some new, more otherworldly villains. Which brings us to the demonic Mephisto.

Many fans believe Mephisto will be WandaVision’s ultimate big bad. In the comics, Wanda is so desperate to have children with her android husband Vision that she creates a false pregnancy, then uses her magic to conjure her two twins into existence. What she doesn’t learn until later is that she pulled Billy and Tommy’s souls from shards of Mephisto’s soul, imbuing them with something evil. When Mephisto comes to reclaim those soul shards, the twins disappear, effectively “dying” and sending Wanda spiraling into grief.

I’d be surprised if WandaVision follows this exact arc: A) because it’s predictable and B) because it’s extremely dark—but it would be the perfect opportunity to reveal Mephisto’s clutching the show’s strings.

We might see a different version of them in the upcoming MCU films.

What makes Billy and Tommy’s appearance in WandaVision so earth-shattering is not necessarily how they’ll affect the show itself (though those implications could be huge). It’s how they could impact all the upcoming MCU films.

You see, in the comics, Billy and Tommy are reincarnated as Billy Kaplan and Tommy Shepherd, two super-teens who eventually go by Wiccan and Speed. At the time, they don’t know they’re brothers, and they don’t understand their connection to Scarlet Witch and Vision. Eventually, Billy fits the pieces together: When he starts telling people he’s Scarlet Witch’s reincarnated son, they sort of imply he’s a crazy super-fan and urge him to, er, stop being a weirdo. But Billy—ever a darling—persists, and eventually it’s revealed he’s telling the truth: Billy and Tommy have, indeed, returned from beyond the grave!

At this point, Billy and Tommy are leading members of the Young Avengers. Billy is one of the first gay characters in the Marvel universe, deeply in love with his team member Teddy Altman, aka the shape-shifting Hulkling. We know from previous casting announcements that other Young Avengers are headed to the MCU screen: Hailee Steinfeld will play Kate Bishop in the upcoming Disney+ show Hawkeye; Kathryn Newton will play an older Cassie Lang in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania; and Xochitl Gomez will play America Chavez in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. These news nuggets are almost a dead giveaway that a Young Avengers franchise is on the horizon, and Billy and Tommy could be its next heroes.

Watch WandaVision on Disney+

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Who Is Geraldine? Monica Rambeau Wandavision Theories



monica rambeau in wandavision

In case Marvel Studios hasn’t drilled this into your brain yet, allow me to do so: Everything is connected. Avengers: Age of Ultron and WandaVision? Connected! Doctor Strange and Spider-Man? Connected! So, if Geraldine’s (Teyonah Parris) introduction in last week’s episode of WandaVision on Disney+ made you go, Huh, she’s probably more important than she seems, then bingo! You’re catching on.

As of the airing of episode 3, “Now In Color,” this spunky Westview-dweller has yet to reveal her true identity. But virtually every fan has already checked IMDB to discover Geraldine is, in fact, “Monica Rambeau/Geraldine,” as confirmed by MCU overlord Kevin Feige. This means there’s an obvious reason why Wanda Maximoff gets so irked when Geraldine mentions Wanda’s deceased twin brother, Pietro, near the end of the episode: Geraldine is an imposter in Wanda’s sitcom-verse. And her inclusion in the series could have enormous ramifications for the next few chapters of the show—as well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole.

To make sense of the Maximoff vs. Monica debacle, here’s a quick primer on the powerful Miss Rambeau. Then, we’ll run through a few theories as to what Monica is doing in the Wanda-verse. Patience, MCU fans. It’ll all make sense eventually. Hopefully.

Suzanne Tenner

You’ve seen Monica Rambeau before.

Or, at least, you have if you’ve watched Captain Marvel. In the ’90s-set adventure, Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, frequently visits her bestie Maria Rambeau, a former Air Force pilot and single mother. Her daughter is named Monica—Carol sometimes calls her Lieutenant Trouble—and the two are super close. At this point in the MCU, Monica shows no clear signs of a superheroic future, though she obviously idolizes her “Aunt” Carol. At the end of the film, Nick Fury implies that if she wants to fly to space like Carol, she’ll need to get “glowy.”

Flash forward to WandaVision, which takes place after Endgame, and Monica has grown up. We can assume from the S.W.O.R.D. pendant Wanda notices around her neck that she’s working with the Sentient World Observation and Response Department, a subdivision of S.H.I.E.L.D. What we don’t know is if she has any superpowers (yet), or if she ever teams up with her aunt.

geraldine and wanda in wandavision

Monica and Wanda in WandaVision episode 2, “Don’t Touch That Dial.”

Marvel Studios

In the comics, Monica was actually the first female Captain Marvel.

Way back in 1982, comics writer Jim Starlin killed off the original Captain Marvel—a man by the name of Mar-Vell—in The Death of Captain Marvel. Monica, then a lieutenant in the New Orleans Harbor Patrol, had gained superpowers from a blast of extra-dimensional energy via a criminal weapon, and so she took up the Captain Marvel mantle. It wasn’t until 2012 that Carol Danvers assumed the role of Captain Marvel—she was previously known as Ms. Marvel.

If your head is spinning, don’t worry—in the MCU, Carol is indeed the first and only Captain Marvel, and we’ve yet to learn Monica’s superhero name (if she has one). But this comics backstory is important context to keep in mind: Rambeau has been a comics fan-favorite for decades, and that will likely contribute to her role in WandaVision and beyond.

teyonah parris as monica rambeau in marvel studios' wandavision

Marvel Studios

She goes by many names.

Confusingly, Captain Marvel is far from the only alter ego Monica has assumed over the years. She changed her name to Photon when Genis-Vell, the son of the O.G. Captain Marvel, took up his father’s title. She changed it again, to Pulsar, when Genis-Vell, in a truly iconic display of masculine entitlement, decided he wanted to be Photon instead. Monica then changed her identity—again—to Spectrum, which she held onto when Thanos launched his attack on Earth.

All this is to say, we have no clue which name Monica will assume if and when she reveals her powers in the MCU.

In an interview with Variety, Parris explained, “Monica Rambeau has held many monikers over the decades, and I think they’ve all been really special in a very particular way. I don’t know how or who she will be in the MCU. Because when I tell you, she changes names and she kicks butt in all of them. So, I don’t know who she will be in her superhero form. But I am excited by the thought of many of them.”

She has a lot of powers, any one of which could shift the landscape of WandaVision.

Among Monica’s many accolades, she is also, arguably, one of the more powerful heroes in the Marvel universe. She can:

  • Use her power over light beams to change others’ perception of her appearance, in effect shape-shifting
  • Fly
  • Move at superhuman speed
  • Phase through solid matter, much like Vision himself
  • Absorb and blast energy through her hands
  • Share a sort of “energy consciousness” with the cosmic universe, perceiving what is happening elsewhere without being near it

    In the comics, she’s also…well, immortal. So that might be important!

    We, of course, don’t know how many of these powers, if any, Monica might have in the MCU, but that last one in particular could open up major possibilities. If she can sense where something is wrong in the universe, she might be able to discern imbalances within the multiverse, thus allowing her to penetrate different realities—such as Wanda’s sitcom-verse.

    She could be the key to unraveling the mystery of WandaVision.

    At the end of “Now In Color,” we watch Geraldine crash-land from her comfy spot in Westview into a field in New Jersey, where she lies groaning in the grass. We can’t be positive who sent her away, though it’s probably safe to assume Wanda was involved.

    Here’s where we start theorizing. If Geraldine is Monica, and Monica is a S.W.O.R.D. agent, she must have infiltrated the sitcom-verse somehow, whether intentionally or unintentionally. If intentionally, it’s likely S.W.O.R.D. sent her in directly—maybe via some sort of photon beam. (Don’t concern yourself too much with the physics of the MCU. You’ll hurt yourself.)

    Why Monica? Well, if she does indeed have superhuman abilities, she’s probably one of the only heroes Wanda wouldn’t recognize, given Miss Maximoff’s adventures with the Avengers. If, say, Natasha Romanoff or Carol Danvers had suddenly appeared in Westview, that might have tripped one or two of Wanda’s alarms. But Monica might also have some of that “energy consciousness” I mentioned, which could make her more perceptive to Wanda’s irregular energy spikes.

    But if Monica is just a mere human like the rest of us, she might have some sort of insight to the multiverse that the other S.W.O.R.D agents don’t, perhaps due to her connection with Carol. Regardless, now that Monica’s been sent spiraling back to, presumably, a S.W.O.R.D base in the “real” world, it’s likely we’ll start seeing more of the outside looking in. WandaVision is finally peeling back the curtain.

    Watch WandaVision on Disney+

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