Texas maintains distance from abolitionist trend after 500th execution
McCarthy had been convicted and sentenced to death in 1998 for the murder of her 71-year-old neighbour. Her defence lawyer argued black jurors were improperly excluded from the trial, but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected the claims, ruling they should have been raised earlier.
Abolitionists including activists with World Coalition member organization Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty held vigils across the state as McCarthy received a lethal injection.
Her death was symbolic because executions of women are extremely uncommon (she became the 13th woman executed in the US since 1977).
It also goes against the tide in the current debate over wrongful convictions, which has encouraged an increasing number of states to stop executions.
Kimberly McCarthy is the 8th prisoner executed in Texas this year and 7 others have executions scheduled in the coming months.
The number of executions in Texas now stands at 500 since capital punishment was reinstated in the US in the late 1970s.
“It is the first state to reach this unseemly milestone, with current Governor Rick Perry playing a major part, having presided over 260 executions (also a record),” World Coalition member organisation Death Penalty Focus remarked in a statement.
Texas’s death penalty record dwarfs that of any other state: Virginia comes second with 110 executions.
“Texas’ 500th execution is sobering, but the movement to replace the death penalty is only speeding up. The death penalty is prohibitively expensive, it’s taking away resources from programs that actually improve public safety, and we’re sentencing innocent people to die,” Death Penalty focus added.