June 26, 2013

Texas carries out its 500th execution since 1982

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Habi Jawad holds up his signs to protest the execution of Kimberly McCarthy on Wednesday outside the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville Unit, where the death chamber is located, in Huntsville, Texas.

The Associated Press

In recent years, Texas executions have generally drawn fewer than 10 protesters. A handful of counter-demonstrators who support the death penalty gathered in another area outside the prison Wednesday.

Executions of women are infrequent. McCarthy was the 13th woman put to death in the U.S. and the fourth in Texas, the nation's busiest death penalty state, since the Supreme Court in 1976 allowed capital punishment to resume. In that same period, more than 1,300 male inmates have been executed nationwide, 496 of them in Texas. Virginia is a distant second, nearly 400 executions behind.

Levin, had asked the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to halt the punishment, arguing black jurors were improperly excluded from McCarthy's trial by Dallas County prosecutors. McCarthy is black; her victim white. All but one of her 12 jurors were white. The court denied McCarthy's appeals, ruling her claims should have been raised previously.

Prosecutors said McCarthy stole Booth's Mercedes and drove to Dallas, pawned the woman's wedding ring she removed from the severed finger for $200 and went to a crack house to buy cocaine. Evidence also showed she used Booth's credit cards at a liquor store.

McCarthy blamed the crime on two drug dealers, but there was no evidence either existed.

Her ex-husband, Michaels, testified on her behalf. They had separated before Booth's slaying.

DNA evidence also tied McCarthy to the December 1988 slayings of 81-year-old Maggie Harding and 85-year-old Jettie Lucas. Harding was stabbed and beaten with a meat tenderizer, while Lucas was beaten with both sides of a claw hammer and stabbed.

McCarthy, who denied any involvement in the attacks, was indicted but not tried for those slayings.

In January, McCarthy was just hours away from being put to death when a Dallas judge delayed her execution.

McCarthy was the eighth Texas prisoner executed this year. She was among 10 women on death row in Texas, but the only one with an execution date. Seven male Texas prisoners have executions scheduled in the coming months.

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