Judge postpones Texas woman's execution

2013-01-30 09:02
Kimberly McCarthy

Kimberly McCarthy

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Chicago - A US judge on Tuesday granted a last-minute reprieve to Texas death row inmate Kimberly McCarthy, who had been scheduled to become the first woman executed in the United States since 2010.

McCarthy - who has been on death row for 14 years - had been due to be executed at 18:00 (2300 GMT) after the US Supreme Court rejected her final appeal, but was instead given a postponement of about two months.

"The trial court granted a motion to reset the date. It is now set April 3," her attorney, Wayne Huff, said. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice confirmed the postponement, without offering an explanation.

McCarthy's lawyers had asked Texas Governor Rick Perry to issue a 30-day reprieve, arguing that racial bias had had an impact on the case.

McCarthy, aged 51, is black. Her victim, 70-year-old retired professor Dorothy Booth, was white.

"The unacceptable disparate impact of race on the administration of the death penalty in Texas has become increasingly well established," her lawyers wrote.


They noted that despite the fact that her home county is 22.5% black, only one non-white juror judged McCarthy and three non-whites jurors "were unilaterally excluded by the state despite being fully qualified to serve".

They further argued that 42% of people sentenced to death in Dallas county were black while 70% of the 24 men exonerated with DNA evidence in the same county were African Americans.

"A remedy is not only warranted, but demanded," her lawyers argued on Monday.

McCarthy was set to be just the 13th woman executed since the death penalty was reinstated in the United States in 1976.

She was convicted of forcing her way into her elderly neighbour's home near Dallas under the pretext of borrowing some sugar in 1997, court records show.

She then smashed Booth in the face with a candle stick, stabbed her five times and cut off her finger to steal her diamond ring.

Two more murders

McCarthy drove off in Booth's Mercedes and tried to buy some crack, court documents showed. She also used Booth's credit cards at least four times and pawned her wedding ring for $200 before she was caught.

Prosecutors also accused her of killing two other elderly people.

She was sentenced to death in 1998, saw her conviction overturned on appeal and then was convicted and condemned again in a second trial in 2002.

"There's a good chance that she would not be sentenced to death if tried now," said Richard Dieter, director of the Death Penalty Information Centre.

"A case like this involving apparent drug addiction and other mitigating factors might well have been settled without the death penalty."

Texas was sentencing as many as 40 people to death a year before the courts began providing juries with the alternative sentence of life without parole. That number has now since dropped to about eight people a year, Dieter said.

McCarthy would have been the fourth woman executed in Texas since 1976, out of a total of 493. Nine other women are among the 304 people on the state's death row.

A dozen women were among the 1 321 people executed since 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Centre. Of the 3 199 people on death row as of 1 October, 63 were women and 42% were black.

Read more on:    us

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.