"Texas woman set to be 500th execution in state," is the Associated Press report filed by Juan A. Lozano.
Texas, the nation's busiest death penalty state, is set to mark a solemn moment in criminal justice Wednesday with the execution of convicted killer Kimberly McCarthy.
If McCarthy is put to death in Huntsville as planned, she would become the 500th person executed in Texas since the state resumed carrying out the death penalty in 1982. The 52-year-old also would be the first woman executed in the U.S. since 2010.
McCarthy's attorney, Maurie Levin, said she has exhausted all efforts to block the execution, after denials by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
"If there was something to appeal, I would," said Levin.
Texas has carried out nearly 40 percent of the more than 1,300 executions in U.S. since the Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976. The state's standing stems from its size as the nation's second most populous state as well as its tradition of tough justice for killers.
With increased debate in recent years over wrongful convictions, some states have halted the practice entirely. However, 32 states have the death penalty on the books. Still, it's clear the debate over capital punishment has touched Texas, with lawmakers providing more sentencing options for juries and courts narrowing the cases for which death can be sought.
According to TDCJ, seven additional executions have been scheduled by Texas state district court, including one in January 2014.
Earlier coverage of Kimberly McCarthy's case begins at the link.
Update with additional coverage. The Guadian posts, "It hardly feels like 'ultimate justice' as Texas is set to execute 500th prisoner," by Sadhbh Walshe.
On Tuesday evening, the Texas court of criminal appeals denied Kimberly McCarthy's motion to stay her execution paving the way for the African American woman to become the 500th person the state puts to death. Although Texas has long been the most execution prone state in the union, there has been some encouraging signs in the recent past that it is growing less comfortable with this dubious distinction. This decision by the court to deny McCarthy's appeal is a victory for those who support "ultimate justice" at any cost, however, and a major setback for those who believe that justice served with a racist tinge, is no justice at all.
In addition to becoming the 500th person the state will execute, McCarthy will also be the 185th black person. This is significant because it means that in a state where African Americans make up just 12.2% of the population, they account for around 37% of those who are executed. This is disturbing of itself, but all the more so because McCarthy's application for a stay was based on claims that her conviction and death sentence were the result of a process that was infected by racial discrimination.
"Texas prepares for 500th execution since high court revived death penalty," is an AP report, via the Washington Post, examining 31 years of Texas executions.
Over the years, the Texas execution list has provided a portrait of violent crime in a state where many people are armed, both good and bad, and juries have little tolerance for murderers.
Those executed have ranged from relatively common cases — robbers who killed store clerks, drug users who killed other drug users, spouses killing each other — to the bizarre and sensational. Ronald Clark O’Bryan, nicknamed the “Candy Man,” poisoned his son’s Halloween candy to collect on an insurance policy. Angel Resendez, a serial killer, rode the rails, stopping along the way to murder strangers. Lawrence Russell Brewer dragged a black man behind a pickup truck in a racist killing.
In the prison town of Huntsville, executions have become a well-worn ritual.
For more than 20 years, Dennis Longmire has been a fixture outside the fortress-like prison on execution evenings, holding a lit candle on a street corner. Hundreds of demonstrators once gathered there, but interest has long since subsided.
“Texas continues to march to a different beat,” as other states drop the death penalty, says Longmire, a criminal justice professor at nearby Sam Houston State University. He calls the execution total “staggering.”