Texas Set for Record 500th Execution Tonight

Kimberly McCarthy due to be executed today
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2013 7:01 AM CDT
Texas Set for Record 500th Execution Tonight
This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Kimberly McCarthy.   (AP Photo/Texas Department of Criminal Justice)

Kimberly McCarthy is due to be executed in Texas today, and if all goes according to plan, she'll be the state's 500th inmate put to death. The Lone Star State has been responsible for almost 40% of the 1,300-plus executions in the US since 1976, the AP reports, and McCarthy will be the first woman put to death since 2010. McCarthy, 52, was linked to three murders, and was convicted of killing retired professor Dorothy Booth in 1997. McCarthy, who claimed two drug dealers committed the crime, argued during appeals that black jurors were improperly kept off the jury (all but one of the jurors was white; McCarthy is black, and Booth was white).

McCarthy was originally scheduled to be executed in January, but a judge moved it to April to give her more time to appeal. That date was then pushed to June because the Dallas County DA wanted to wait on the outcome of bills relating to capital punishment. Her attorney says all efforts to halt the execution have been exhausted. Critics say her case underscores inherent problems with the way the death penalty is administrated. Citing "shameful errors" including "race bias, ineffective counsel," and a lack of "meaningful oversight," one law professor says: "For this to be the emblem of Texas' 500th execution is something all Texans should be ashamed of." (More Kimberly McCarthy stories.)

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