Victim's relatives on way to execution stunned at delay

Posted Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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HOUSTON -- Relatives of a slain Texas woman who were en route to the convicted killer's execution this week were stunned to get a call that a state judge had halted the punishment.

"We were shocked and dismayed and sad and angry and a whole plethora of emotions we were feeling about this," Randall Browning, the victim's godson, said Thursday. "This is outrageous. Nobody is considering the victims in this."

Dorothy Booth, 71, was beaten, stabbed and robbed at her home in Lancaster, south of Dallas. A neighbor, Kimberly McCarthy, was convicted in the 1997 slaying and sentenced to die.

On Tuesday, McCarthy, 51, received a reprieve. It came about five hours before she was scheduled to become the first woman executed in the U.S. since 2010 and only the 13th since 1976, when the U.S. Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to con-tinue.

"We have waited for 15 years patiently and quietly for justice that was promised us after she was initially found guilty and given the death penalty," Browning said. "And the state of Texas so far has failed to realize justice for our family."

A judge rescheduled McCarthy's punishment in Huntsville for April 3 to give her lawyers more time to pursue arguments that the jury in her case was improperly selected on the basis of race.

McCarthy is black. All but one of the jurors at her 2002 trial were white.

"If I was African-American I would be absolutely insulted at the suggestion that somehow African-Americans would not find her guilty," said Browning, who is white, referring to the "gruesome" evidence in the case.

The slaying of Booth, a retired college psychology professor, is one of three linked to McCarthy, a former nursing home therapist who became addicted to cocaine.

Repeated delays are not unusual.

Prisoner Larry Swearingen, set to die within weeks for a 1998 slaying, won a fourth reprieve Wednesday from a judge.

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