Thursday, June 27, 2013

500: Texas reaches execution milestone

The 18th Execution of 2013

On June 26, Kimberly McCarthy became the 500th convicted killer in Texas to receive a lethal injection, reported The Dallas Morning News.

The number far outpaces the execution total in any other state. It also reflects the reality of capital punishment in the United States today: While some states have halted the practice in recent years--Maryland, Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico, New York and New Jersey--executions continue at a steady pace in many others.

The death penalty is on the books in 32 states. On average, Texas executes an inmate about every three weeks.

McCarthy was executed for the 1997 murder of a 71-year-old retired college professor, who was her neighbor in Lancaster. McCarthy used the pretense of borrowing sugar to enter Dorothy Booth’s home and stabbed Booth during a robbery to fuel her crack-cocaine habit. She severed Booth’s finger while she was still alive. Traces of Booth’s blood were found in McCarthy’s home.

McCarthy was also indicted but never tried in the 1988 deaths of two other elderly women.

As the drugs surged through McCarthy’s body Wednesday evening, she looked toward the window of the room that held her supporters, including her ex-husband, and thanked them. She looked at the window where Booth’s daughter and granddaughter and friends stood but did not address them.

“This is not a loss, this is a win. You know where I am going,” McCarthy said as she lay strapped to a metal gurney inside the death chamber with mint green walls. “I am going home to be with Jesus.”

Then she smiled and began to snore. Her chest briefly moved up and down rapidly. She lost consciousness, and Booth’s family nodded in approval. McCarthy was declared dead at 6:37 p.m. — 20 minutes after she was given the lethal dose.

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