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State of Texas kills Kimberly McCarthy for its 500th execution Printer friendly page Print This
By Les Blough, Editor. Axis of Logic
Axis of Logic
Thursday, Jun 27, 2013

The State of Texas executes people more than any other in the United States and Governor Rick Perry has presided over more than half of its 500 killings.

The Texas Tribune reports, “Perry has rarely used his power to grant clemency, granting 31 death row commutations, most of them — 28 — the result of a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision banning capital punishment for minors.” Perry is known for turning a blind eye to the evidence even when mental retardation, when foreign governments object to having their citizens executed and even when new evidence clearly shows that the condemned person is innocent.

For examples, in 2004 Perry refused to stop the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham who was convicted of murdering his three young children by arson by burning their family home on December 23, 1991. His case has been reviewed by nine of the nation's top fire scientists and "all concluded that the original investigators relied on outdated theories and folklore to justify the determination of arson." Moreover, the Innocence Project says experts in a 2006 report it commissioned concluded the fire was not intentionally set.

In August, 2012, Perry also refused to stop the execution of Marvin Wilson whose measured IQ was 61 demonstrating a mental capacity of a 6 year old. And in 2008, he refused to grant stays of executions for two foreign nationals scheduled within 2 days of each other. Perry ignored a ruling by the International Court of Justice and protests by the Mexican government in the case of Jose Ernesto Medellin on August 5 and sent Heliberto Chi, an undocumented Honduran national, to his death two days later.

Texas holds first place in this sickening contest with 500 executions and the State of Virginia second with 100.

Governor Rick Perry has presided over more than half of the 500 executions in Texas. When asked about losing sleep over his role, Perry stated, "I've never struggled at all. The state of Texas has a very thoughtful, a very clear process in place.”
Perry and his death squad chose to kill a woman this time, the first in 8 years in Texas, to mark their 500th execution. Kimberly McCarthy was convicted of using a knife in 1997 to kill her neighbor, a white woman and retired college professor - in the victim's home. She was found guilty in 1998 for the murder but the conviction was overturned because no attorney was present, as required by law, when she was interrogated by police. She was tried the second time in 2002 by determined state prosecutors, convicted and sentenced to death again. Kimberly's torturous journey continued when on January 29th of this year, she received a reprieve by State District Judge Larry Mitchell - less than five hours before she was scheduled for execution. But the State of Texas finally succeeded in putting her to death by lethal injection yesterday.

Kimberly was a crack cocaine addict at the time and has been on death row for the last 16 years. The photos we publish below include protests against Kimberly's execution and they also highlight the presence of black women working in the death house at Huntsville. The hiring of poor black women by the State of Texas for this work is in itself a slap in the face of African-Americans and also serves as an attempt at some kind of twisted portrayal of fairness in their racist system.

Kimberly was convicted of murdering a white woman. The New York Times notes, "That’s not surprising: In Texas as well as other states, a black person who murders a white person is more likely to receive the death penalty than when the victim is black." The 12-person jury that convicted and sentenced Ms. McCarthy was all white with the exception of one person of color. By allowing a single minority person on the jury under the glare of 11 white Texans, the state cynically attempts to circumvent the Supreme Court ruling, "against purposeful exclusion of minorities from a jury when a minority is the defendant."

Regardless, the state's conviction of Kimberly obviously violates the spirit and intent of the court ruling against minority discrimination. The prosecutors used their right to exclude 3 non-whites selected for jury duty by the defense. Kimberly's defense lawyer didn't challenge these race-based rejections by the prosecutors; nor did the defense request a hearing on this matter which is specifically allowed by the Supreme Court; nor did Kimberly's lawyer use this violation on appeal. Likewise, a different lawyer assigned to her case did not raise the issue through her writ of habeas corpus. Habeas corpus, which translates as “you shall have the body,” states that an accused person must be physically brought before a judge with a statement demonstrating sufficient cause for arrest.

As a result, no court has ever heard or reviewed Kimberly's case on the basis of racial discrimination until last Tuesday. The Houston Chronicle reported that on Tuesday, for the second time in 2 days, Texas' highest appeals court struck down her writ of habeas corpus, rejecting, "irregularities in the selection of her jury ... without considering her claims, saying that they violated a provision that bars the consideration of issues that should have been presented in earlier appeals." So the state is essentially admitting that her appeal may have merit but because her state-appointed lawyers fucked up in the past they were refusing to hear the appeal before her execution.

Axis of Logic has always opposed the death penalty in the United States for three reasons: (1) killing another human being because of any crime they may have committed cannot be justified morally; (2) even if state killings were to be considered a moral thing to do, they will never be carried out equally, disregarding the race and socio-economic status of its victims. The long history of race and class-based state executions in the United States is proof enough; (3) if the state has the authority to execute its citizens, it can execute anyone. In fact, the US government has now openly declared their right to execute anyone without due process in Obama's infamous National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Kimberly McCarthy executed by the State of Texas yesterday for the murder of her neighbor 16 years ago. In her last statement she wrote, "I just wanted to say thanks to all who have supported me over the years. Thank you everybody, this is not a loss, this is a win. You know where I am going."

The Protests




A prison guard shows the death row cell where Kimberly spent the last 16 years of her life.


A cemetery for prisoners, with some three thousand graves since the 19th century, on May 21, 2013 in Huntsville, Texas. Chantal Valery/AFP

Biography, Essays and Poetry by Les Blough



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