The Tuesday execution of Kimberly McCarthy in Austin, Texas has been postponed after lawyers argued the punishment was racially motivated.
McCarthy's scheduled execution was a rare occurrence. She would have become the 13th woman to be executed for a crime in nearly 40 years. But just hours before the execution was to occur, State District Judge Larry Mitchell, in Dallas, rescheduled Kimberly McCarthy's punishment for April 3.
McCarthy's lawyers won a reprieve with the argument that racial bias played a role in the 51-year-old woman's punishment. McCarthy's lawyers stated that her jury was improperly selected because it was predominantly white; their client is black.
"We want to make sure everything is done correctly," District Attorney Craig Watkins told the Associated Press of the 60-day delay.
McCarthy 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.
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.
"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.