The district court for Dallas County, Texas, issued a stay of execution for Kimberly McCarthy. McCarthy was found guilty of murdering 71-year-old Dorothy Booth in 1997. She was also suspected of murdering two other elderly women.
McCarthy was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in Texas in January, but won a reprieve until April. She would have been the first woman executed since 2010. Only 12 women have been executed since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976. She would have been the second person executed this year. Robert Gleason was executed by electrocution in Virginia in January.
The death penalty continues to be one of the most controversial issues in America. There are arguments that capital punishment equates to cruel and unusual punishment, which violates the law. Some argue that it is morally repugnant for a government to sanction murder, while others believe that the law is not fairly applied, resulting in a disproportionate of poor and minority offenders on death row. These arguments against the death penalty ignore two factors: 1) the death penalty is a punishment for a horrible arbitrary crime and the punishment needs to fit the crime, and 2) even if it is unfairly applied, the bottom line is, overwhelmingly the people on death row committed the crime.
The Death Penalty Information Center reports there are 3,146 inmates currently on death row in the United States.
Fifty-six percent of the defendants that have been executed since 1976 are white and 77% of the victims have been white. Currently, 43% of the death row population is white and 41% are black. A disproportionately higher amount of black people are on death row. They may be there because the system is stacked against them in terms of enforcement of the law and quality of legal defense, but if they committed the crime at the end of the day the system didn’t do it, they did it themselves.
Eighteen people are scheduled to be executed in 2013. Texas accounts for 44% and Ohio 28%. Texas leads the nation in executions by far. The state executed 472 inmates between 1976 and 2011. Virginia is second with 108. Fifty percent are white males and 33% are black males. But that is not the point. They committed the heinous crime and they have been found guilty and now they must face their punishment.
If you have any reservation about punishing death row inmates, consider the profile of those scheduled for execution in the coming month:
“A DeSoto Parish jury in April 1993 imposed the death penalty for Sepulvado for the March 8, 1992 death of his stepson Wesley Allen Mercer, 6,” according to the Shreveport Times. Sepulvado repeatedly tortured the child, including immersing him in scalding hot bath water, denying him food, and striking in the head with a screwdriver, which was the fatal blow. “Yvonne Sepulvado, who married Christopher Sepulvado only three days prior to her son’s death, served time for manslaughter.” The couple denied the child medical attention for three days.
“Blue was convicted in 1995 of killing 38-year-old Carmen Richards-Sanders by dousing her with gasoline and lighting her on fire inside her College Station apartment,” according to The Eagle. Blue, who maintained at the time that it the incident was the result of an accidental prank gone bad, has had a number of people try to stay his execution. A Change.org petition argues that he is mentally retarded and his crime was not a capital murder.
Paul Augustus Howell was convicted of murdering Florida state trooper Jimmy Fulford with a pipe bomb that he had built. “Fulford was blown apart when he opened a booby-trapped package during a routine traffic stop,” according to the AP. “The pipe bomb, hidden in a gift-wrapped microwave oven, was intended to kill two women in Marianna because they knew too much about a drug-related murder in 1991.”
Fulford stopped the car for speeding and during a registration check discovered that the driver did not have a valid driver’s license. The car had been rented by Howell. Fulford contacted Howell to determine if the car had been stolen. The driver and passenger of the car were aware that Howell built pipe bombs, but they were unaware that the package contained one. They assumed it was drugs. Lester, the driver, was convicted of 2nd degree murder and given 40 years. Howell has been on death row since 1995.
I don't know if this is a race, moral or religious issue. I just know that these 3 gentleman committed heinous crimes and they don't deserve to live.