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Texas woman who killed neighbour set to be executed

Kimberly McCarthy is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in Texas today, the first woman to be put to death in the US in more than two years, for the fatal stabbing of her neighbour in 1997.

She stabbed a woman five times, and cut off her left ring finger to take diamond ring

Women are rarely executed in the US.

Only 12 female inmates were put to death since capital punishment was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Infor-mation Centre.

The last woman executed was Teresa Lewis in Virginia on September 23, 2010, the information centre said.

“Although women commit about 10 per cent of murders, capital cases also require some aggravating factor like rape, robbery, or physical abuse,” said Richard Dieter, executive director of the information centre, adding that women usually have not committed a long list of prior felonies.

McCarthy, 51, was convicted of entering the home of her 71-year-old neighbour, Dorothy Booth, in Lancaster, Texas, on July 21, 1997, under the pretence of borrowing some sugar.

She then stabbed Booth five times, according to the Texas attorney general’s summary of the case.

She also cut off Booth’s left ring finger in order to take her diamond ring, which she later pawned.

McCarthy was also believed to be responsible for the murders of two other elderly women.

McCarthy was found guilty in 1998 by a Dallas County jury of murdering Booth and sentenced to death.

Her conviction was overturned by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in 2001 because no attorney was present when she was questioned after the crime despite requesting a lawyer, court documents showed.

She was tried a second time in 2002, was again found guilty by a Dallas County jury, and sentenced to death.

McCarthy would be the second person executed in the US so far this year.

Forty-three inmates were put to death in 2012.

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