By Akwasi Evans
Special to NNPA from NOKOA The Observer
HUNTSVILLE, Ala—Anti-death penalty activists from Houston and Dallas piled onto buses recently in route to Huntsville to protest the execution of Kimberly McCarthy. McCarthy became the 500th death row inmate executed in Texas since the state reintroduced the death penalty in 1982.
McCarthy, 52, was executed for the murder of Dorothy Booth; a 71-year-old retired college psychology professor in 1997. McCarthy was a 36-year old cocaine addict who lived near Booth. She is alleged to have gone to Booth’s home to borrow a cup of sugar, but when the elderly lady let her in the house, McCarthy attacked the woman, beating her with a candelabra and stabbing her with a butcher knife in the professor’s Lancaster home south of Dallas. McCarthy also cut off one of Booth’s fingers to steal her wedding ring.
Protesters of the execution carried signs saying, “”Protest the 500th Execution” and “Stop All Executions.” As the execution was being carried out they sang, “Wade in the Water.”
Family member expressed relief after waiting 16 years.
“It doesn’t matter if this is the 500th execution or not,” said Randall Browning, Booth’s godson. “We’re just thinking about the justice that was promised to us by the state of Texas.”
Before drawing her last breath McCarthy looked up and said, “This is not a loss. This is a win. You know where I’m going. I’m going home to be with Jesus. Keep the faith. I love you all,” she ended.
McCarthy was pronounced dead at 6:37 p.m. CDT, 20 minutes after Texas prison officials began administering a single, lethal dose of pentobarbital. The use of pentobarbital, more commonly employed in euthanizing animals, raised concerns among some death penalty experts. H. Lundbeck, the U.S. distributor of pentobarbital, condemned the use of the drug in executions in a statement: “It’s against everything we stand for. We invent and develop medicine with the aim of alleviating people’s burden. This is the direct opposite of that.”
In a statement, Maurie Levin, McCarthy’s attorney, said, “500 is 500 too many. I look forward to the day when we recognize that this pointless and barbaric practice, imposed almost exclusively on those who are poor and disproportionately on people of color, has no place in a civilized society.”
Texas is the killing capital of the world. The state has carried out almost 40 percent of all U.S. executions since the Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976. Eighteen states plus the District of Columbia have outlawed the death penalty. Thirty-four still use it, but none as frequently as Texas. Prior to McCarthy execution members of the Friends Meeting House (Quakers) placed 500 markers outside their church on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard to protest the execution and call for an end to the barbaric and archaic system of killing people who are incarcerated and under complete and total government or state control and supervision.
This article originally appeared in the July 10 print edition.