Kimberly McCarthy becomes 500th prisoner executed in Texas

Texas reached a macabre milestone Wednesday night, carrying out its 500th execution since 1976.

Kimberly McCarthy, 52, also became the first woman to be put to death in the United States in nearly three years.

A former occupational therapist, she was convicted of murdering a 71-year-old neighbor in 1997. Authorities declared her dead by lethal injection at 6:37 p.m. at the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville, according to CNN.

Texas has carried out nearly 40 percent of the more than 1,300 executions in the US since the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. 

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The practice, meanwhile, is on the decline in other countries.

"It's very sad — horrific — like in the middle ages," Gloria Rubac of the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement told AFP outside the prison.

She was among about 30 death penalty opponents gathered outside for a vigil to protest the execution.

They held signs reading, "Don't kill for me" and "End executions in Texas."

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