Tonight Texas Reaches Uneasy Milestone, its 500th Execution

| by Sarah Siskind
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Texas reached an uneasy milestone yesterday when the Court of Criminal appeals denied the last appeal of death row inmate, Kimberly Mccarthy. This evening Mccarthy is set to be the first woman executed since 2010 and the 13th woman executed in the U.S. since 1976.

Since the death penalty was reinstituted under Gregg v. Georgia in 1976, more than 1,300 men have been executed. With both a large population and a record of tough convictions, Texas accounts for 40% of these executions.

52-year-old Kimberly Mccarthy was convicted in 1997 for the brutal murder of retired college professor Dorothy Booth near Dallas, Texas. Booth let Mccarthy into her home after she requested a cup of sugar. Mccarthy then fatally stabbed Booth with a butcher knife, robbed the home, and even cut off Booth’s finger to steal her wedding ring. Police have linked Mccarthy to two other murders in 1988 that also targeted elderly women. Before she became addicted to crack cocaine, Mccarthy had been a nursing home therapist.

Maurie Levin, Mccarthy’s attorney, appealed to the court to reconsider, arguing that the prosecution had unfairly barred blacks from the jury. Only one juror for her case was black. However, the court ruled this procedural objection should have been raised earlier.

This solemn milestone has reinvigorated some debate over the longstanding debate over the death penalty.

"The shameful errors that plague Ms. McCarthy's case — race bias, ineffective counsel and courts unwilling to exercise meaningful oversight of the system — reflect problems that are central to the administration of the death penalty as a whole,” said attorney Maurie Levin. “For this to be the emblem of Texas' 500th execution is something all Texans should be ashamed of.”

Protesters plan to picket outside Walls Unit in Huntsville this evening where Mccarthy will receive the lethal injection.

Sources: CBS News Local