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Texas executes Kimberly McCarthy, state's 500th since 1976

Kimberly McCarthy was put to death Wednesday, the 500th person Texas has executed in the 37 years since the death penalty was reinstated.

The former occupational therapist was convicted and sentenced to death in 1998 for the beating and stabbing death of her 71-year-old neighbor, Dorothy Booth, during a robbery.

McCarthy, 52, was pronounced dead at 6:37 p.m., 20 minutes after receiving a dose of pentobarbital, according to the Associated Press.

With her last words, she thanked her minister and her family, but did not mention her victim.

"Thank you, everybody," McCarthy said. "This is not a loss; this is a win. You know where I am going. I am going home to be with Jesus. Keep the faith. I love y'all. Thank you, chaplain."

The AP then described her death: "As the drug started to take effect, McCarthy said, 'God is great,' before closing her eyes. She took hard, raspy, loud breaths for several seconds before becoming quiet. Then, her chest moved up and down for another minute before she stopped breathing."

A small group of anti-death-penalty protesters demonstrated outside Huntsville Prison, about 70 miles north of Houston.

McCarthy was the 13th woman executed in the United States and the fourth in Texas since the Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976. During that time, more than 1,300 men have been executed nationwide.

“She has become a symbol because she is the 500th execution,” McCarthy’s attorney, Maurie Levin, told the Los Angeles Times before the execution. “Perhaps that is fitting, perhaps that is extra shameful. It certainly should be a reminder to anybody that the system is profoundly problematic and is not one we should be comfortable with.”

Texas has enforced the death penalty more regularly than any other state, executing more people than the next six states combined: Virginia, Oklahoma, Florida, Missouri, Alabama and Georgia.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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