The first woman scheduled to be executed in the US since 2010 won a reprieve today, mere hours before she was scheduled to be taken to the Texas death chamber. A state district judge rescheduled Kimberly McCarthy's punishment for April 3 so lawyers could have more time to pursue an appeal focused on whether her predominantly white jury was improperly selected on the basis of race. McCarthy is black.
McCarthy was sentenced to death for the 1997 robbery, beating, and fatal stabbing of her 71-year-old neighbor, Dorothy Booth. Investigators say Booth agreed to give McCarthy a cup of sugar before she was attacked with a butcher knife at her home. The killing was one of three linked to McCarthy, a former nursing home therapist who had been addicted to crack cocaine. McCarthy would have been the 13th woman executed in the US since the Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976. In that same period, more than 1,300 male inmates have been executed nationwide. (Read more Kimberly McCarthy stories.)