Convicted Killer Gets 60-Day Reprieve
Texas was scheduled to execute a woman for the first time in more than eight years this week, until a judge stepped in. On Tuesday, Dallas County District Judge Larry Mitchell delayed the scheduled execution of Kimberly McCarthy until April 3rd while McCarthy's attorneys appeal the racial makeup of her jury. McCarthy is black, and the jury that convicted and sentenced her included 11 whites and only one black. Jim Harrington, Director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, tells KTRH McCarthy's attorneys may have a point based on historical problems with jury selection in Dallas County. "Those cases are very hard to prove, that that kind of discrimination happens...but Dallas County has been particularly problematic."
The Dallas County District Attorney's Office will not appeal the delay, meaning McCarthy's attorneys have 60 days to make their case. Harrington, who opposes the death penalty, thinks the delay alone is an encouraging sign for McCarthy's case. "You've really got to show the judge (in these cases) that there's a probability of reversal, so I think this is significant in terms of the appeal." But McCarthy is far from getting off death row. If no irregularities are found, prosecutors say they plan to move forward with her execution on April 3rd. She also was denied clemency just last week by the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole.
McCarthy, now 51, was convicted in the 1997 murder and robbery of her suburban Dallas neighbor, 71-year-old retired college professor Dorothy Booth. Investigators say McCarthy, who was a crack addict, asked to borrow a cup of sugar, then attacked and fatally stabbed Booth before cutting off Booth's finger in order to steal her wedding ring. McCarthy then stole Booth's purse and car. Prosecutors also linked McCarthy to the murders of two elderly women a decade earlier.