Kimberly McCarthy was set to become the first U.S. woman executed since 2010, but a Texas judge stopped proceedings at the very last minute. The 51-year-old was to be put to death via lethal injection late Tuesday, prior to a reprieve issued by State District Judge Larry Mitchell.
Lawyers for McCarthy will now be given extra time to pursue an appeal, on grounds that their client was convicted based on racial bias. The jury that found the former nursing home therapist guilty was comprised of 11 White jurors. "We want to make sure everything is done correctly," said District Court Judge Craig Atkins.
If no wrongdoing is found, Mitchell will be executed in 60 days.
Prosecutors have decided not to appeal the ruling. "I'm happy right now over that," McCarthy told prison agency spokesman John Hurt. "There's still work to be done on my case."
McCarthy is accused in the 1997 murder of her elderly neighbor, Dorothy Booth. McCarthy cut off the victim's finger, and sold her wedding ring for $200 to buy drugs. She was also tied to the murders of two other people.
Mitchell's new execution date has been scheduled for April 3.
Photo: AP/Texas Dept. of Corrections