Kimberly McCarthy will be put to death in Austin, Texas on Tuesday, becoming the 13th woman to be executed for a crime in nearly 40 years.
Over 1,300 executions have been carried since capital punishment was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976. Of those, at least 490 executions were carried out in Texas alone. But the execution of women is rare. McCarthy, however, will become an exception. Only 12 women have been executed since 1776. McCarthy will be the first in two years.
"Although women commit about 10 percent of murders, capital cases also require some aggravating factor like rape, robbery, or physical abuse," Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, told The Toronto Sun.
McCarthy, 51, was found guilty of killing her next-door neighbor, Dorothy Booth, who was 71 at the time. Booth was found in her home on July 22, 1997 stabbed to death. Her left finger had been severed from her hand.
The crime was allegedly fueled by drugs. After killing Booth, reports stated that McCarthy drove the victim's white Mercedes station wagon to a drug house, where she proceeded to ask for crack cocaine. McCarthy also attempted to sell the ring that was stolen from the severed finger.
In October of 2002, a jury found McCarthy guilty of the crime and she was sentenced to death.
McCarthy was also indicted for killing two other elderly women. The women were friends of McCarthy's 85-year-old mother. One of the victims was beaten with a hammer and then stabbed to death.