Protesters rallied outside the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville Wednesday night to protest a solemn milestone in the state’s history.
Shortly after 6pm CDT, Texas executed convicted killer Kimberly McCarthy in what was the state’s 500th execution since the state resumed the death penalty in 1982, according to the Associated Press.
On Tuesday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals declined to reconsider its denial of McCarthy's appeal, saying her claims should have been raised previously.
Her attorney, Maurie Levin, said she had run out of options in her attempts to halt the execution, after repeated denials by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. She has been on death row since 2002, convicted for the 1997 murder of her 71-year-old neighbor.
"If there was something to appeal, I would," Levin told the Associated Press prior to the execution.
"The shameful errors that plague Ms. McCarthy's case–race bias, ineffective counsel and courts unwilling to exercise meaningful oversight of the system–reflect problems that are central to the administration of the death penalty as a whole. For this to be the emblem of Texas' 500th execution is something all Texans should be ashamed of," Levin said.
McCarthy and her attorney appealed her execution on the grounds that the prosecution in her case improperly excluded black jurors and that the lawyers representing her at the time of the trial did not represent her well. McCarthy was black, her victim was white and 11 of the 12 jurors who decided her fate were white as well.
Texas leads the nation in executions since the 1976 Supreme Court ruling that allowed states to resume the practice. Virginia comes in a distant second place with just over 100 in that same time.
Updated 7:45pm ET