“She’ll Die Soon”: The Six Women Sentenced To Death Row In Texas
In the State of Texas, capital punishment is a controversial topic. Since 1982, Texas has executed 572 inmates, accounting for over a third of all executed offenders in the nation. With 198 inmates currently on Death Row, this is the smallest amount of condemned prisoners that the Lone Star state has had in decades.
Whatever your stance is on capital punishment, it's hard to deny that there's a lot of complex and interesting aspects to the Texas justice system when it comes to the death sentence. For example: of the 198 inmates on Death Row, 6 of the condemned are women.
These six women are a tiny fraction of the Death Row population, and all have spent an average of 19 years since being sentenced.
The last woman who was put to death in the state of Texas was Karla Faye Tucker on February 3, 1998. Before that, there had not been a woman executed in the state since 1868. In the last 100 years, over 40 women have been executed in the United States.
The majority of these female prisoners have been convicted for heinous crimes against children or the elderly. And because they are part of a small but unlikely population of offenders, they have received a considerable amount of media attention.
In order to be sentenced to death in Texas, a crime must meet the definition of capital murder. Section 19.03 of the Texas Penal Code outlines capital murder as committing murder under one of the following circumstances:
- The person murders a peace officer or fireman who is acting in an official duty;
- The person intentionally commits the murder in the course of committing or attempting to commit kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation, or terroristic threat;
- The person commits or solicits a murder for hire;
- The person commits the murder while escaping or attempting to escape from a penal institution;
- The person, while incarcerated murders another person;
- The person murders more than one person;
- The person murders a person aged ten years old or younger; or
- The person murders another person involved in service with the judiciary.