Today Texas marks a somber moment. The state will execute its 500th person, and the first woman in the US since 2010. 52-year-old Kimberly McCarthy, is set to be put to death today in Huntsville.
McCarthy’s attorney, Maurie Levin, says she has exhausted all efforts to block the execution, but after denials by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Levin says, “If there was something to appeal, I would.”
Of the 32 states that have the death penalty on the books, Texas has been the most prolific in implementing them. Carrying out nearly 40 percent of the more than 1,300 executions in U.S. (496 of them in Texas alone), since the Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976. Virginia is a distant second, nearly 400 executions behind.
McCarthy faces execution for the 1997 robbery, beating and fatal stabbing of retired college psychology professor Dorothy Booth. Booth had agreed to give McCarthy a cup of sugar before she was attacked with a butcher knife at her home in Lancaster, about 15 miles south of Dallas. Authorities say McCarthy cut off Booth’s finger to remove her wedding ring.
Police also had linked two other slayings to McCarthy, a former nursing home therapist who became addicted to crack cocaine.
McCarthy’s trial has been wracked with possible legal errors. From racial bias, to ineffective council. McCarthy is black, and Booth was white. All but one of the 12 jurors at McCarthy’s trial were white.
McCarthy is set to receive a lethal injection this evening, and Anti-death penalty groups have planned to protest outside the Walls Unit in Huntsville.
Federal statistics show that over the past three decades women account for about 10 percent of convicted murderers. According to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, there were 63 women on death row in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, representing 2 percent of the nation’s 3,125 condemned prisoners.