A condemned Dallas woman who avoided execution with a last-day reprieve in January asked a judge Friday to again halt her execution now set for early next month.
Kimberly McCarthy, who was convicted of killing the 1997 killing of a neighbor, asked State District Judge Larry Mitchell in a court filing to put off her rescheduled April 3 lethal injection until the fate of legislation related to her case is determined.
Maurie Levin, a University of Texas law professor who represents McCarthy, contends prospective jurors and the subsequent jury at McCarthy's trial in Dallas County were predominantly white and may have been unfairly selected on the basis of race. McCarthy is black.
State Sen. Royce West and Rep. Eric Johnson, both Dallas Democrats, introduced a measure in the Legislature on March 6 that would bar racial discrimination in capital case prosecution. The measure has been sent to committees in each chamber. Lawmakers in Austin are about halfway through their 180-day biennial session.
"Ms. McCarthy's case and claims fit squarely within the four corners of the proposed legislation," Levin told the court. "As the fate of the proposed legislation will not be known until the end of May, a withdrawal or modification of the execution date is warranted."
Sue Smith, a Dallas County assistant district attorney who handles capital case appeals, said Friday her office would contest the request in a filing to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
McCarthy, 51, already was in a small holding cell a few steps from the Texas death chamber in Huntsville on Jan. 29 and within hours of her scheduled execution when Mitchell, acting on a filing from Levin, withdrew the execution warrant and reset it for April 3.
If McCarthy's punishment is carried out, she would be the first woman executed in the U.S. since 2010.
The former nursing home therapist was convicted of the 1997 stabbing, beating and robbery of a 71-year-old neighbor, Dorothy Booth, at the retired college psychology professor's home in Lancaster, about 15 miles south of Dallas.
The slaying was among three linked to McCarthy, who had become addicted to crack cocaine.