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Texas Kills 500th Prisoner

blog Texas 500th 7.1.13

On Wednesday June 26 of 2013 at 6pm the State of Texas killed Kimberly Lagayle McCarthy – who had stabbed her neighbor several times and cut the victim’s wedding ring finger off in South Dallas back in 1997.

Bob Kinney Words & Photos

The event is memorable – in a sad kind of way. It was the 500th time that Texas has killed someone in our death house at Gainesville Prison since 1982. The last time Texas killed a woman was about three years ago when Carla Faye Tucker was executed.


Fox Austin News Video Report Austin Vigil June 26 in 2013

http://www.myfoxaustin.com/story/22698253/texas-carries-out-its-500th-execution-since-1982

As I noted in my meditation at the Spring 2012 board meeting of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship – “Every time the State of Texas kills someone – supposedly on the behalf of we citizens – a group of us gather at the south entrance to the State Capitol in downtown Austin for a peaceful witness usually at 6pm when the lethal needle filled with pentobarbital enters the prisoner’s body. I have been taking part in the vigil for many executions as a personal way to say “No. You do not speak for me.”

“Sometimes the husband of a woman who was murdered shows up at the vigil. Bill had protested the execution of his wife’s murderer. A few months ago Texas killed mentally retarded Marvin Wilson – the victim of Texas’s unique system for defining ‘retardation’ that relied on the character of Lennie Small in John Steinbeck’s novel “Of Mice and Men.” Steinbeck’s son personally asked Texas Governor Rick Perry to cancel the execution. A few years ago our vigil for the East Texas man who chained a black man to his truck and drug him to his death took place while Georgia was killing Troy Davis.”

Texas’s 500 executions leads the US and most foreign nations by far since the 1974 US Supreme Court decided to reinstate capital punishment– only Saudi Arabia and North Korea come even close to us. Nice Company, eh?

US Runner-up is the State of Virginia with 110 executions.

With every death I continue to ask –
“What don’t you understand about
‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’”?

blog Texas 500th b 7.1.13


Other Media Links


The Experiences of a Texas Death House Chaplain

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/27/capital-punishment-texas-pickett

Film
Werner Herzog’s stunning documentary “Into The Abyss”

The great director Werner Herzog begins his chilling documentary “Into the Abyss” standing in the graveyard of the Huntsville prison in East Texas. Huntsville is where the State of Texas kills people by the hundreds. Behind him is an ocean of crosses – no names identify the graves – prison i.d. numbers do. Executed persons are buried there when no one claims the body.

Herzog’s film explores a triple homicide in the gated community of Conroe eleven years ago when two teenagers shot two of their high school friends to get a gate key. They entered the compound, went to the house of one of the dead teen’s mom, shot her and took her red Camaro convertible.

The film is a mixture of heartfelt interviews and gory police crime video. Herzog interviewed Michael Perry ten days before his death in 2010. The life of Jason Burkett, the second teen, was saved by the killer’s father who had testified what a rotten father he had been. The father said his worst experience in all his years behind bars was being chained to his son on a prison bus. Two jurors took pity and the son got life without parole.

Most wrenching in the film is Herzog talking to the former head of the Death Squad at Huntsville. The leader of a 12-person team had supervised the killing of about 120 prisoners. He lauded his team for getting the job done within ten minutes but something happened when he supervised the 1998 killing of Karla Faye Tucker – the first woman to be killed by the state since 1863. He tells Herzog that he fell to the floor and began shaking when she died. The burly East Texas man quit his job the next day and lost his state pension – he could no longer kill.

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