Kimberly McCarthy (Texas prison photo)
DALLAS (March 29, 2013)—Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins announced Friday that he’s agreed to a stay of execution for convicted killer Kimberly McCarthy, who’s held on women’s death row in Gatesville and who’s now scheduled for execution next Wednesday.
A statement from Watkins' office says he agreed to the delay of McCarthy's execution because of proposed legislation that would improve the fairness of the death penalty.
A court hearing was scheduled later Friday to address the request for a delay.
McCarthy, who avoided execution with a last-day reprieve in January, asked State District Judge Larry Mitchell in a court filing last week to put off the April 3 lethal injection until the fate of a bill related to issues in her case that was introduced March 6 in the Texas Legislature is determined.
Attorney Maurie Levin contends McCarthy's 1998 trial jury may have been unfairly selected on the basis of race.
A bill proposed by Sen. Royce West and Rep. Eric Johnson, both Dallas Democrats, would bar racial discrimination in capital case prosecution.
Levin argues that McCarthy, who’s black, was the subject of racial discrimination by the jury of 11 whites and only one black that convicted her.
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.