Texas Carries Out 500th Execution; Inmate Calls Death "A Win"

Kimberly McCarthy (Texas prison photo)

HUNTSVILLE (June 25, 2013)—Women’s death row inmate Kimberly McCarthy, 52, became the 500th inmate to be executed in Texas since the death penalty resumed in the U.S. in 1977 Wednesday evening in Huntsville.

McCarthy, who spent nearly 15 years on women’s death row in Gatesville, received a lethal injection just after 6 p.m. Wednesday for the 1997 murder of an elderly neighbor during a robbery.

She had exhausted her appeals and no last-minute motions were filed to block the execution.

She didn't acknowledge her victim or her victim’s family in her final statement, but said her execution "is not a loss. This is a win."

She said she was looking forward to "going home to Jesus" and professed her love to those witnessing her execution including her ex-husband, her attorney and her spiritual adviser.

As the drug took effect, McCarthy said "God is great" before closing her eyes.

She drew hard, loud, raspy breaths for several seconds before falling silent and then stopped breathing a minute later.

About 40 people protested Wednesday a block from the Huntsville Unit where McCarthy was executed, carrying signs that said such things as "Death Penalty: Racist and Anti-Poor," ''Stop All Executions Now" and "Stop Killing to Stop Killings."

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.

Texas has accounted for nearly 40 percent of the more than 1,300 executions carried out since murderer Gary Gilmore went before a Utah firing squad in 1977, becoming the first inmate to be executed after the U.S. Supreme Court's clarification of death penalty laws.

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

She was the fourth Texas woman put to death since the state resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982.