Texas has carried out its 500th execution since resuming the death penalty in 1982. Kimberly McCarthy, 52, was put to death by lethal injection in Huntsville Wednesday evening. McCarthy was convicted in the 1997 murder of 71-year-old retired college professor Dorothy Booth during a robbery at Booth's suburban Dallas home. "(Booth) had been beaten and stabbed to death, and her finger had also been severed, suggesting that a ring had been forcibly removed from the victim," says John Hurt, spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). McCarthy's final appeal claimed that black jurors were unfairly excluded from her trial, but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected that claim earlier this week.
There were several witnesses on hand for the execution, including McCarthy's ex-husband, her attorney and her spiritual advisor. On the victim's side, Booth's daughter, granddaughter, grandson-in-law, and two close friends were there. "In her final statement, she thanked the people that had supported her over the years, including her ex-husband, attorney and spiritual advisor," says Hurt. McCarthy also said her execution "is not a loss---this is a win" before getting the lethal injection. Her last words were "God is great" before closing her eyes.
Because of the milestone number attached to the execution, a crowd also gathered outside the chamber. "There was a larger contingent than normal of protesters outside the unit in Huntsville," says Hurt. "Although it amounted to only about 45 people, and it was orderly and there were no incidents reported by police." Some of those protesters came from Houston, where they held a rally earlier in the afternoon to call for an end to the death penalty in Texas. McCarthy is the first woman executed in the U.S. since 2010 and the fourth in Texas since the state reinstated capital punishment.