Wednesday, January 23, 2013
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas described the murder of Dorothy Booth as follows:
On July 21, 1997 McCarthy entered the home of her 71-year-old neighbor Dorothy Booth under the pretense of borrowing some sugar and then stabbed Mrs. Booth five times, hit her in the face with a candelabrum, cut off her left ring finger in order to take her diamond ring, and nearly severed her left little finger as well. McCarthy then took Mrs. Booth’s purse and its contents, along with her wedding ring and fled in her car. Later, McCarthy bought drugs with the stolen money, used the stolen credit cards, and pawned the stolen wedding ring.
On Aug. 18, 1997, McCarthy was indicted in Dallas County for the capital murder of Dorothy Booth.
On Nov. 17, 1998, a Dallas County jury found McCarthy guilty of capital murder. After a separate punishment hearing, McCarthy was sentenced to death.
On Dec. 12, 2001, McCarthy’s initial capital murder conviction was reversed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on direct appeal. The State’s petition for a writ of certiorari was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 28, 2002.
McCarthy was retried and on October 29, 2002, McCarthy was again found guilty of capital murder by a Dallas County jury, and was again sentenced to death.
On Sept. 22, 2004, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed McCarthy’s second judgment of conviction. The U.S. Supreme Court denied McCarthy’s petition for writ of certiorari on June 13, 2005.
On Aug. 24, 2004, McCarthy filed a state habeas application, which the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied on Sept. 12, 2007.
On Sept. 11, 2008, McCarthy filed a federal habeas petition in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. That court denied her petition on May 9, 2011.
On July 11, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied McCarthy’s application for a certificate of appealability. The U.S. Supreme Court denied McCarthy’s petition for writ of certiorari on Jan. 7, 2013.
On Sept. 4, 2012, the 292nd Judicial District Court of Dallas County set McCarthy’s execution for Jan. 29, 2013.
Under Texas law, the rules of evidence prevent certain prior criminal acts from being presented to a jury during the guilt-innocence phase of the trial. However, once a defendant is found guilty, jurors are presented information about the defendant’s prior criminal conduct during the second phase of the trial which is when they determine the defendant’s punishment.
In addition to Booth’s murder, McCarthy had also murdered two other elderly women. The first, Maggie Harding, was an 82-year-old longtime friend of McCarthy’s family, who had helped organize McCarthy’s wedding and had let McCarthy store excess furniture at her house. Harding was stabbed several times in the face, chest and abdomen, including one wound piercing her heart. She also suffered dramatic injuries to her face, including a broken jaw, crushed cheek bone, and bleeding on the brain. These wounds were consistent with being caused by a meat tenderizer found in the kitchen sink. Harding’s purse was missing from her home.
The second of McCarthy’s elderly victims was 85-year-old, physically disabled Jettie Lucas, a distant cousin of McCarthy’s mother. Lucas was stabbed in the face, including wounds piercing her eyes. She also suffered blunt force trauma to her head and neck, including strikes which tore one of her ears, fractured her skull, and caused bleeding on the brain. These injuries were consistent with a claw hammer found near Lucas’s body. The contents of Lucas’s purse and wallet were missing.
In addition, McCarthy had convictions for forgery, theft of services, and prostitution. While incarcerated awaiting trial, McCarthy assaulted, threatened and took advantage of other inmates, and violated many prison rules.
For additional information and statistics, please go to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website at www.tdcj.state.tx.us.