HUNTSVILLE, TX – It’s D-day for a Texas death row inmate. 51-year-old Kimberly McCarthy is scheduled to be executed Wednesday in Huntsville for the murder of her 70-year-old neighbor Dorothy Booth back in 1997. And without a reprieve, McCarthy’s execution will be a landmark for the state of Texas — the 500th execution since the state resumed the death penalty in 1982.
“Our system treats you better if you are rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent,” says Amnesty International’s Lee Baird.
Texas leads the nation in executions, with more inmates put to death in the last thirty years here than the next top six states combined. That number has sparked an outcry from both sides of the debate.
David Atwood with the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty explains it this way: “You can go all the way through the system and end up on death row even though you’re innocent.”
“Why should they get to continue to live when they’ve removed the lives of so many?’ says Houstonian Julie Johnson, a supporter of Texas’s Death Penalty laws.
And while there’s little doubt about Kimberly McCarthy’s guilt, recent cases of prosecutorial misconduct has added fuel to the already raging fire. In April former Williamson County District attorney, Ken Anderson, was arrested for intentionally hiding evidence that could have prevented an innocent man from serving twenty-five-years in prison for a murder DNA later proved he didn’t commit.
Still, those who favor the death penalty say the system works.
“If there’s somebody sitting in prison and they’re just taking up government money, they’ve already proven to the court of law that they deserve to die, deserve to earn the death penalty, then I think, why not?” says Alan Morell of Houston.