Texas Executes Woman Tonight


Texas convicted murderer, Suzanne Basso, will be the 14th woman in the US to be executed since 1976 (the reinstatement of the death penalty); her date is set at 6 P.M tonight for the murder of Louis “Buddy” Musso 15 years ago.  Her motive was portrayed as greed. She allegedly became close to Musso, a mentally challenged man, for beneficiary status in his insurance policy which is why she “lured” him to Texas for marriage.

Irish Times reports the court filings cast doubt on the testimony of Paul Shrode, medical examiner. The body of the victim was reported to have been burned repeatedly with a cigarette, several bones to had been broken including dislocated vertebrae, his body being “scoured” by a wire brush and covered with bleach. The medical examiner, however, had allegedly lied about his law degree and Bar status on a CV, which was a debunking effort taken by the defense team. Shrode was later fired from his position as Chief Medical Examiner.

Some worry the execution process is cruel and unusual torture.  The execution chair has decreased in popularity due to the inhumane aspect of the execution; however, there still are states that use electrocution as the primary means of execution:  Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia–(DPIC) Death Penalty Information Center. Groups like Amnesty International fight to have capital punishment put in mankind’s dark past. The human rights agency claims that the death penalty is the “ultimate, premeditated, and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state. “

Roughly 60 women are currently on death row in the United States, at least 4 have been executed in all documented Texas history.–DPIC   Kimberly McCarthy convicted of the 1997 murder of a 71-year-old woman in Lancaster, Texas, became the 500th person in Texas to be executed. Linda Carty, who is a “British grandmother,”  is currently on death row for a murder in which she has consistently denied taking part.

On the website, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, nine women are listed to be awaiting execution. Kimberly Cargill found guilty of killing a woman who could have testified against Cargill in a child custody case. The victim was set on fire until she died from burning alive.

The stories and court documented evidence are typically gruesome, but Erica Yvonne Sheppard was sentenced to death for the incidental killing of Marilyn Sage Meagher during a robbery and grand auto theft. This was a case that caught public attention including Amnesty International, Bianca Jagger, and Reverend Jesse Jackson who was convinced by Sheppard’s mother to talk to Sheppard in prison and is when she decided to fight for an appeal. Rev. Jackson ultimately became involved with her case. –the Dallas Observer

Before 6 P.M. today, Basso will have her last meal.  Even though more individuals were involved in the murder, including her son, the prosecution only asked for the death penalty for whom they deemed the “ringleader.” Basso also confessed to driving the body to the “ditch site.” Though many cases have an overwhelming amount of evidence to support a conviction of murder, some believe capital punishment is wrong and a crime against human rights.  As Texas executes this woman for the murder of Mr. Musso tonight, people across the world hearing of this case will have their political and humanitarian beliefs decide upon an emotion of either satisfaction or sickness.

By Lindsey Alexander

Amnesty International
Irish Times
Texas Dept. Criminal Justice

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