HOUSTON — The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to review the case of a Texas woman who faces execution later this month for the fatal stabbing and bludgeoning of a retired college professor.
The high court, without comment, refused to review the case of Kimberly McCarthy, 51, who is set to die Jan. 29 for the July 1997 killing of Dorothy Booth during a robbery at the 71-year-old woman's home in Lancaster, about 15 miles south of Dallas.
Evidence showed McCarthy, a former nursing home therapist who lived across an alley from Booth, called her neighbor to borrow a cup of sugar. McCarthy then went to Booth's home, where she stabbed the older woman five times with a butcher knife, beat her with a large candle holder and cut off her finger to take Booth's diamond wedding ring. Prosecutors showed McCarthy drove Booth's Mercedes to Dallas, pawned the ring for $200 and then went to a crack house to buy some cocaine. Evidence also showed she used Booth's credit cards at a liquor store and was carrying the victim's driver's license.
Booth's DNA was found on a 10-inch butcher knife recovered from McCarthy's home.
C. Wayne Huff, McCarthy's attorney, said the Supreme Court's decision was not unexpected and he would file a clemency request with Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
"We're working on seeing if there are any other avenues we can take," he said.
McCarthy was tried twice for Booth's slaying, most recently in 2002. Her first conviction in 1998 was thrown out three years later by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which ruled police violated her constitutional rights by using a statement she made to them after asking for a lawyer.
In her most recent appeal, McCarthy contended her trial lawyers were deficient for not introducing into evidence at her punishment trial a statement she made to police acknowledging she was at the crime scene but blaming the killing on two men with her.
Her appeal also argued trial attorneys improperly allowed Booth's daughter to be present in the courtroom as the trial unfolded. The daughter became distraught when crime scene photos were described in court, and she had to be removed from the courtroom. McCarthy's trial lawyers then asked for a mistrial but the request was denied by the trial judge.
Prosecutors presented DNA and fingerprint evidence that tied McCarthy to similar slayings in 1988 of two other women, one 81 and the other 85. One of the victims was beaten with a metal meat tenderizer and stabbed. The other was beaten with both sides of a claw hammer and stabbed. McCarthy was indicted but not tried for those slayings, both in December 1988. She has denied any involvement in the killings.
Three of the 492 people executed since Texas resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982 have been women.
McCarthy is one of 10 women on death row in Texas but the only one with an execution date. At least eight men have executions scheduled in the coming months.
Two other death row inmates also lost at the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. The high court also refused to review the cases of Carroll Joe Parr, 35, and Jamie Bruce McCoskey, 48.
Parr was sentenced to death for a January 2003 robbery and slaying during a drug deal in Waco. McCoskey faces execution for the November 1991 abduction and slaying of a 21-year-old Houston man whose pregnant girlfriend was abducted and raped. Neither Parr nor McCoskey has an execution date.