Judge Halts Execution Of Texas Women’s Death Row Inmate

Kimberly McCarthy (Texas prison photo)

HUNTSVILLE (January 29, 2013)—A judge has halted the execution of Texas women’s death row inmate Kimberly McCarthy, who was scheduled to die just after 6 p.m. for the July 1997 murder of a retired college professor during a robbery.

Her attorneys sent a late request to halt the execution to a Dallas County judge Tuesday just hours before McCarthy's scheduled execution.

District Judge Larry Mitchell agreed and moved the execution to April 3.

University of Texas law professor Maurie Levin argued that McCarthy, who’s black, was the subject of racial discrimination by the jury of 11 whites and only one black that convicted her.

The Dallas County District Attorney's office, which earlier called the effort to stop the execution a "mere delay" tactic because the record doesn't support a valid legal claim for discrimination, said it will not appeal the judge's decision.

Last week the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously refused a clemency request from McCarthy, whose attorneys were seeking a 120-day reprieve and commutation of her sentence to life in prison.

McCarthy was convicted and sentenced to death in November 1998 for the July 21, 1997 murder of her neighbor, Dorothy Booth, 71, at Booth’s home in Lancaster.

Evidence showed McCarthy went to Booth’s home on the pretense of borrowing sugar and then stabbed the retired professor five times and hit her in the face with a candelabrum.

She cut off Booth’s left ring finger to take a diamond ring and nearly severed Booth’s left little finger as well, evidence showed.

She fled with Booth’s purse and wedding ring and later bought drugs with the stolen money, used the stolen credit cards and pawned the stolen ring, evidence showed.

On Jan. 7, the U.S. Supreme Court without comment, refused to review McCarthy’s case.

McCarthy is one of 10 women on women's death row at the Mountainview Unit in Gatesville, but the only one with an execution date.

She would have been the fourth woman in Texas and the 13th woman in the U.S. executed since 1976, when the Supreme Court executions to resume.

Since then, more than 1,300 men have been executed.