Rare Female Execution Scheduled Today; Is Kimberly McCarthy Innocent?

By iScienceTimes Staff on January 29, 2013 9:58 AM EST

Rare Female Execution
Kimberly McCarthy is scheduled to be executed today for the murder of an elderly neighbor. She is the second woman to be executed in the U.S. in three years. (Photo: Texas Department of Criminal J)

A rare female execution is scheduled today in Texas. Convicted murderer Kimberly McCarthy is sentenced to death by lethal injection for the 1997 slaying of her neighbor, Dorothy Boothe. According to prosecutors, the rare female execution was decided upon by the jury in the case because of the brutal nature of the murder itself. McCarthy entered her neighbor's home on the pretense of borrowing sugar, then attacked her with a butcher knife, using the utensil to sever Boothe's ring finger while the woman was still alive.

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"I remember the pain and agony that poor woman lived through before McCarthy delivered the final stab wounds," former Dallas County assistant district attorney Greg Davis told The Globe And Mail.

The diamond ring McCarthy was after netted her $200 at a pawn shop in Dallas, money she used immediately to purchase crack cocaine. McCarthy was apprehended in Boothe's stolen Mercedes, carrying the slain woman's credit cards and ID. A butcher knife with Boothe's DNA was recovered from McCarthy's home, but the most damning piece of evidence that led to the rare female execution came when prosecutors linked McCarthy to two other murders involving elderly woman.

Blood DNA evidence also tied McCarthy to the 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 was never convicted for those crimes, but the jury felt that she was responsible and those circumstances influenced their decision to recommend the rare female execution.

McCarthy will be the 13th woman executed in the U.S. and the fourth in Texas, the nation's busiest death penalty state, since the Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976. In that same time period, more than 1,300 male inmates have been executed nationwide. Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics compiled from 1980 through 2008 show women make up about 10 percent of homicide offenders nationwide.

McCarthy's defense lawyers were hoping the rare female execution could be halted on a number of grounds. First, her team argued that of the twelve jurors convicting McCarthy, an African-American, all but one were white. Second, they claim her substance abuse issues drove her to commit the crimes.

"I think when she's off dope she's probably a pretty good person," Doug Parks, McCarthy's lead attorney, told the Associated Press. "I believe now, as I did then, that in the penitentiary, Kim would be absolutely no danger to anyone."

McCarthy tried to avoid the rare female execution by claiming during the trial that she was a pawn in a larger scheme run by two drug dealers known only as "Kilo" and "J.C." Prosecutors found no evidence that the men were real, however.

McCarthy is the former wife of New Black Panther Party founder Aaron Michaels, with whom she has a son. Michaels testified on her behalf during the trial although the two had separated before the murders occurred.

Tuesday's lethal injection will be the first female execution since 2010, when Teresa Lewis was put to death for using sex and money to arrange for the murders of her husband and stepson in October 2002.

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