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June 23, 2013

Notable condemned and notable execution milestone in Texas this week

ALeqM5isr0UjoSbtDZB5JK5wuDkRMIj62wAs reported in this international news piece from AFP, headlined "Texas prepares to execute 500th prisoner," a scheduled execution in Texas this coming week is drawing more than the usual attention for a number of reasons. Here is some context:

The US state of Texas is preparing to execute its 500th convict since the death penalty was restored in 1976, a record in a country where capital punishment is in decline elsewhere.

On Wednesday, in the absence of a last minute pardon, 52-year-old Kimberly McCarthy will receive a lethal injection in Huntsville Penitentiary for the 1997 murder of 71-year-old retired college professor Dorothy Booth. "What we do is we carry out court orders," said Jason Clark, spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. "It's our obligation to carry this execution out."

Activists opposed to the death penalty are due to gather at the red brick state prison, known as the "Walls Unit," to mark the milestone with a protest against a punishment they regard as a holdover from another age.

In 1976, the US Supreme Court lifted a moratorium on the use of the death penalty and since that date 1,336 have been executed across the country, more than a third of them in Texas alone. "It is obviously still the leader of executions in the nation, but it is limited to a handful of counties," said Steve Hall of the StandDown Texas Project, which has campaigns for a new moratorium....

Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center, an academic watchdog, agreed. "Despite this major milestone, we expect the total number of executions to be less than last year and a new drop in death sentences," he said.

According to DPIC's figures, there are 3,125 convicts on death row in the United States and, if Wednesday's execution goes ahead, McCarthy will be the 17th prisoner put to death in the first six months of 2013.... American juries are also imposing capital punishment in fewer cases, with only 78 death sentences last year, down by around three-quarters since the 1990s -- although violent crime is also down.

And, while 32 of the 50 US states still have the death penalty on the books, many have imposed a de facto moratorium, with few or none of the executions carried out and convicts languishing on death row....

"By measurements like the number of executions, death sentences and states, the death penalty is in decline," admitted Robert Blecker, a professor at New York Law School. "But, in terms of the popular support, that is fairly constant. It is not in decline," he said, noting that the proportion of voters backing execution always increases in the wake of "egregious" crimes.

Opinion polls consistently show that between 60 and 65 percent of Americans back the death penalty, indicating that support goes beyond the roughly 50-50 left-right divide in US electoral politics.

This local piece from the Austin Chronicle discusses the specifics of the notable defendant now poised to be number 500 in Texas.  Here is how it begins:

With the execution of Kimberly McCarthy slated for June 26, Texas is on the eve of a historic first: The first state to have executed 500 individuals since reinstatement of the death penalty — an event that also extends Gov. Rick Perry's record as the U.S. governor presiding over the most executions ever carried out.  McCarthy is slated not only to be tagged with the infamous fate of 500, but will also become only the fifth woman — and the third black woman — executed in Texas since 1854.

McCarthy, who was previously married to New Black Panther Party founder Aaron Michaels, was sentenced to die for the 1997 robbery-murder of her 71-year-old neighbor, retired professor Dorothy Booth.  Accord­ing to the state, McCarthy's crack cocaine addiction led her to employ a ruse — she needed to borrow sugar, she told Booth — in order to get into Booth's house.  Booth was repeatedly stabbed, and her finger, with ring on it, was cut off. Booth's car and credit cards were also stolen; McCarthy told police she pawned the items to get money for drugs.

June 23, 2013 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

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Comments

We'll see if the 'rat prosecutor continues his collaboration with the 'rat Dallas judge to thwart justice for the victim's family.

Of course, with his collaboration, the 'rat prosecutor puts the conviction at risk as well.

What is it about elected 'rats and capital murderers?

Posted by: federalist | Jun 23, 2013 9:34:29 PM

| "she needed to borrow sugar, she told Booth — in order to get into Booth's house. Booth was repeatedly stabbed,
and her finger, with ring on it, was cut off."
| "[including] stabbing her 5 times with a large butcher knife and bludgeoning her face with a candlestick."|

Ask Americans what they think about this. This is what I got:

'The death penalty is the minimum of what should be done to her'
'It's a kindness not to cut off her finger and stab her repeatedly'
'She should be executed in the middle of the night without warning'

Posted by: Adamakis | Jun 24, 2013 11:19:27 AM

Found this also:
-- "The jury also heard testimony of the capital murder charges Ms. McCarthy faces in the December 1988 deaths of Maggie Harding, 81, and Jettie Lucas, 85.
Physical evidence -- including more DNA testing -- links Ms. McCarthy to slayings in which Ms. Lucas was beaten with a claw hammer and stabbed with a knife. Ms. Harding was stabbed and bludgeoned with a metal meat tenderizer." --

Is this not the type of immorality for which we have the death penalty?

Posted by: Adamakis | Jun 24, 2013 11:26:17 AM

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