Family members of murder victim question timing of killer's stay of execution

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on February 23, 2013 at 12:31 AM

Donna Aldred remembers rushing to her mother's Lancaster home after getting a phone call saying she been murdered.

"On the steps was sugar mixed with blood, because she was immediately stabbed," Aldred said. "All I can remember is screaming -- just screaming."

On July 21, 1997, Dorothy Booth's neighbor, Kimberly McCarthy, knocked on her door and asked for sugar. Once inside, she stabbed Booth and cut off her finger to take her wedding ring.

"Every time I picked up a sharp instrument, it made me think about how my mother's finger was chopped off, all she was still alive," Aldred said.

McCarthy took the ring and sold it for crack cocaine.

"It really destroyed my belief in humanity, and it felt like a profound, deep, dark hole that I was in," Aldred said.

Donna's daughter, Leslie, was 12 years old at the time.

"It made me realize for the first time how horrible things happen to really good people," Leslie said.

McCarthy was convicted and sentenced to die for Booth's murder, and connected to the murders of two other elderly women in 1988 in Dallas. Over the years, she had two murder trials and numerous appeals, and she was set to be executed January 28.

"We finally thought it was going to be over, and now we don't," Aldred said.

Just two hours before the execution, Judge Larry Mitchell granted McCarthy a 60-day stay of execution so attorneys could look at whether she received a fair trial, since the jury was made up of 11 whites and one African-American.

"That infuriated me," Leslie Aldred said. "I don't understand what the point of going through all the appeals, go through all the trials. What is the point, if at the end of the day, an attorney with an agenda can come in at the last minute and completely turn that upside down?"

Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins could've filed an appeal to try and move the execution forward, but he didn't.

"It's hard for me, as a family member of the victim, to believe the D.A. is supposed to be a champion of the victims' rights when it seems the exact opposite is happening."

The week before the execution, Watkins announced he was going to support a bill that would allow death-row inmates to appeal on racial grounds.

"It's hard to imagine that those circumstances could simply be coincidental," Donna Aldred said.

News 8 has repeatedly asked Watkins for on-camera interview, but he's declined and instead sent a written statement saying that his office doesn't believe race played a role in McCarthy's jury selection.

"I decided not to appeal the judge's last-minute order to ensure the public's confidence in the end result, which I believe will be Ms. McCarthy's execution," the statement read.

"This is a woman who has shown no mercy to her victims, and my personal opinion is I don't think she deserves any mercy now," Leslie Aldred said.

Booth's loved ones say they're beginning to lose confidence in the legal system, and fear they may never get the justice they've been promised.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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