Kimberly McCarthy would have been removed from the face of earth by now, but a Texas judge ordered tonight’s execution posponed until April.
Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins decided not to oppose the delay, saying it was appropriate.
Why was the execution delayed?
Lawyers for McCarthy argued that a jury consisting of one black person and eleven white people in Dallas County was not fairly selected. McCarthy is black.
A Dallas district judge decided their argument was worth at least considering. McCarthy is a former nursing home physical therapist. She was convicted of murdering a university professor and stealing from her.
McCarthy, 51, was convicted of beating her 71-year old neighbor with a candelabra before stabbing her to death with a knife.
Dorothy Booth, a retired psychology professor, gave McCarthy a cup of sugar before McCarthy severed the victims’ finger to steal her wedding ring. The capital murder occurred in Booth’s Lancaster, Texas home. Lancaster is about 15 miles south of Dallas.
District Judge Larry Mitchell made the decision Tuesday to delay the execution until April 3.
McCarthy was first convicted in 1998 of slaying Booth on July 21, 1997.
After that conviction was reversed she was tried in front of another jury the same year which convicted her. They recommended the death penalty which was scheduled to be carried out Tuesday.
Investigators said law enforcement had allegedly linked McCarthy to other murders.
McCarthy would have been the 13th woman in the U.S. to be executed since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 by the Supreme Court.
Defense attorney Maurie Levin, a professor at the University of Texas, said all the non-white jurors were excluded by the state other than the one who made the jury. Levin has represented death row inmates since 1993. She is a graduate of Vassar and Northeastern University Law School.
Many were dismayed by the postponement based on the fact McCarthy was a suspect in the murders of two other elderly women.
She has been a resident of Texas Death Row for more than ten years. While her execution has been re-scheduled for April, there is no guarantee it will happen then.
If the defense is successful with its appeal that racial bias played a role in the selection of the jury, a third trial could be ordered.
That would of course decrease the chances of a conviction as witnesses memories fade with time.
Many observers wondered why this new defense argument was not raised years ago.
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