HOUSTON, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- A U.S. judge on Tuesday granted a reprieve for a Texas woman who was scheduled to be the first executed in U.S. since 2010 for her convicted murder and robbing of her neighbor.
State District Judge Larry Mitchell, in Dallas, Texas, rescheduled Kimberly McCarthy's execution for April 3, hours before the former nursing home therapist was supposed to be taken to the Texas death chamber on Tuesday, according to local media reports.
The reprieve was granted to allow lawyers for McCarthy, who is black, have more time to pursue an appeal focused on whether her predominantly white jury was improperly selected on the basis of race.
A jury in Dallas had found McCarthy, 51, guilty of the gruesome killing of her 71-year-old neighbor, Dorothy Booth, on July 21, 1997.
McCarthy allegedly entered Booth's home in Lancaster, Texas, under the pretense of borrowing some sugar. She stabbed Booth five times, according to the Texas attorney general's summary of the case.
She also reportedly cut off Booth's left ring finger in order to take her diamond ring, which was later pawned.
McCarthy was also believed to be responsible for two similar murders a decade earlier. In one murder, she used a meat tenderizer as a weapon and another used a claw hammer, according to the Attorney General's summary.
The execution would be the first since a Virginia inmate, Teresa Lewis, became the nation's 12th woman put to death since capital punishment was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976. During the same period, 1,309 men have been executed, according to the report.
McCarthy would also become the first woman executed in Texas in more than eight years and the fourth overall in the state, which executes the most people in the nation. Some 492 prisoners were reportedly executed in the state since capital punishment resumed 30 years ago.