Texas to Execute #500

In Huntsville, Texas, on Wednesday, anti-death penalty groups are planning a protest as the state is about to execute its 500th person. Gloria Rubac, with the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement in Houston, said sententiously, "The whole world is looking at Texas."

Of course, the details of what the murderess did seem to be rather unimportant to those protesting the death penalty. Kimberly McCarthy, who is to be given a lethal injection Wednesday, asked retired college psychology professor Dorothy Booth for a cup of sugar in 1997. Then McCarthy attacked Booth with a butcher’s knife, stabbed her to death, and even cut off her finger to remove her wedding ring. She stole Booth's Mercedes, drove to Dallas, pawned Booth’s wedding ring for $200 and bought crack cocaine.

In McCarthy’s appeals, she claimed she was victimized because there was only one black person on the jury. McCarthy is black; Booth was white. Her attorney, University of Texas law professor Maurie Levin, bleated:

The shameful errors that plague Ms. McCarthy's case — race bias, ineffective counsel and courts unwilling to exercise meaningful oversight of the system — reflect problems that are central to the administration of the death penalty as a whole. For this to be the emblem of Texas' 500th execution is something all Texans should be ashamed of.

Blood DNA evidence has connected McCarthy to two other murders in 1998: 81-year-old Maggie Harding, stabbed and beaten with a meat tenderizer, and 85-year-old Jettie Lucas, savaged with a claw hammer and stabbed.

McCarthy also is the former wife of Aaron Michaels, founder of the New Black Panther Party.



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