Kimberly McCarthy Will Become Texas’ 500th Inmate Executed

Kimberly McCarthy, 52, will become Texas’ 500th inmate executed since the United States reinstated the death penalty in 1976. McCarthy got a reprieve before her scheduled execution in January when her attorneys launched an appeal on the basis of racial bias during the selection of the jury convicted McCarthy in 1997.

McCarthy is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Wednesday at 6 p.m. local time, reports the Dallas Morning News. Convicted of the murder of her neighbor Dorothy Booth, 71, McCarthy will be the first woman executed in the U.S. since 2010 and would be only the 13th woman ever executed.

Despite earlier stays of execution, McCarthy will not get a last-minute reprieve from Wednesday’s execution. McCarthy’s conviction for the stabbing death of Booth has drawn controversy due to a history of alleged racial bias in Dallas County. As Dallas Morning News notes, the initial investigation was used as evidence to indicate a clear pattern of racial bias in jury selection in the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Miller-El v. Dretke. Thomas Miller-El was convicted of murder but successfully argued that the prosecutors eliminated potential jurors on the basis of race.

Maurie Levin, McCarthy’s lawyer, argued racial bias during jury selection as, out of the 64 individuals in the initial pool of potential jurors, just four nonwhite potential jurors made it to the final selection, reports the Death Penalty Information Center. Of those four, three were eliminated by prosecutors using peremptory strikes, similar to the practice in the Miller-El v. Dretke case. Levin also argued that McCarthy had received inadequate legal representation during the initial trial.

With the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals confirming its initial denial to hear McCarthy’s appeal on Tuesday, Levin says she cannot appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, reports the Associated Press. The appeals court’s ruling is based on the procedure of the appeal, not on the case itself, says Levin, which cannot be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Texas’s tough stance on crime and its use of the death penalty has the support of its residents, notes AP. The AP cites a 2012 poll that had only 21 percent of those polled opposing the death penalty. Texas has begun to reform its death penalty policy, excluding the mentally impaired and those who were under the age of 18 when they committed the crime while offering more sentencing options for jurors, notes AP. Texas held its first modern execution in 1982.

Speaking of McCarthy’s execution, Randy Browning, Booth’s godson, said, “The only significance for us is that Kimberly McCarthy, because of her crack cocaine addiction or her sociopathic personality, deprived us of Dorothy Booth,” notes Dallas Morning News.

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