by Robert A. Waters
Kimberly McCarthy would do anything for crack. Anything. On July 22, 1997, the Lancaster, Texas addict called her neighbor, seventy-one-year-old Dr. Dorothy Booth, and asked to borrow a cup of sugar.
On arriving at Booth’s home, McCarthy attacked her with a candelabrum and two butcher knives. As Booth lay dead (or maybe while she was still alive), McCarthy cut off her finger. Removing Booth’s diamond wedding ring, McCarthy then pawned it for $200. Police arrested the killer at a liquor store while she was in the act of using Booth’s credit cards.
Court records describe the evidence against Kimberly Lagayle McCarthy: “We first note that the State offered ample evidence of appellant's guilt...The victim's caller ID records showed that she received two calls from an anonymous number on July 22, 1997, at 6:19 a.m. and 6:29 a.m. [on the day of the murder]. Harry Wilkins, Jr., aka, ‘Smiley,’ testified that appellant was driving the victim's white Mercedes Benz station wagon when she met him on the morning of July 22, 1997, to inquire about buying crack cocaine. The State further showed that appellant pawned the victim's diamond ring on July 22, 1997, and that she used the victim's credit cards at several locations on July 23, 1997. When appellant was arrested on July 24, 1997, she attempted to take with her a tote bag containing the victim's driver's license and several of the victim's credit cards. The State's strongest independent evidence of appellant's guilt was produced when the police executed a search warrant at appellant's home on July 24, 1997. Officers found a large knife stained with Dr. Booth's blood in appellant's kitchen cabinet above the refrigerator. The bloody knife matched other knives found in the kitchen drawers of appellant's house. [DNA tests confirmed that the blood on the knife was consistent with Booth’s blood.]”
In Texas, as in all other states, it’s exceedingly rare for a female to be sentenced to death. The pre-meditated and gruesome nature of this case convinced the judge to sentence McCarthy to the ultimate penalty.
McCarthy’s execution is scheduled for January 29, 2013. Texas is serious about justice, and so, unless there is a surprise ruling by an appellate court, she will receive her reward. As she trudges toward the gurney, will McCarthy remember the frail neighbor who tried to help her by giving her sugar? Will she feel remorse for her savage and lethal attack on Dorothy Booth? Will she think of her victim’s still-grieving family?
I think not. More likely, she’ll see herself as the victim. And the sad thing is that there are those who will agree with her.