500th execution in Texas set for Wednesday

Texas' highest criminal court has denied a request to block a Dallas County woman's execution this week.

Kimberly McCarthy's execution would be the 500th in Texas since the state resumed carrying out the death penalty in 1982.

McCarthy stabbed her 71-year-old neighbor to death back in 1997. She contends black jurors were improperly excluded from her trial by Dallas County prosecutors and this wasn't challenged by her lawyers.

But the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin denied McCarthy's request on Monday. The court said it didn't consider the merits of McCarthy's appeal because she should have raised her claims previously.

Maurie Levin, McCarthy's attorney, says she is "reviewing the order and considering our options."

The 52-year-old McCarthy also would be the first woman put to death in the U.S. since 2010 if she receives lethal injection on Wednesday.

The Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is leading the push to abolish the death penalty in Texas.

"Our criminal justice system isn't perfect and if you don't have a perfect system we have a question of if we should have death penalty as one of our punishments," said David Atwood, founder of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP).

Atwood is an engineer by trade, but he says his passion is the truth.

He founded TCADP to find out if innocent people have been executed.

"Seven at least, but there could be several more people who have been executed who have been innocent," said Atwood. "We have had 12 people in Texas who were exonerated and actually have been released. Nationwide we've had 142.

The group plans to gather for a vigil in the Museum District Wednesday evening prior to McCarthy's scheduled execution in Huntsville.

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