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Women on Death Row

Most Killed Their Children, Husbands

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angela-mcnaulty.jpg

Death Row Inmate Angela McNaulty

Mug Shot

It is indeed rare for a woman to be given the death sentence in the United States. Of the 3,146 persons on death row in the U.S. as of February 2013, only 61 of them, or 1.9 percent, were women.

Of the 61 women who were on death row in 2013, 13 of them were convicted of killing their their husbands and/or boyfriends, 12 were convicted of killing their children and two killed both their husbands and their children, according to Victor L. Streib's research in "Death Penalty For Female Offenders, January 1, 1973 through February 20, 2013." 

Few Women on Death Row

There are approximately 50,000 women in prisons in the United States, only 0.1 percent of them are on death row. In comparison to men, death sentencing rates remain very low, with only 566 total executions carried out against women since the first recorded execution in 1632 -- or less than 3 percent of the total executions.

Very few women enter the capital murder system, and fewer still are ever actually executed, according to the Death Penalty Information Center:

  • Women account for only 1 in 10 murder arrests.
  • Women account for only 1 in 47 death sentences imposed at the trial level.
  • Women account for only 1 in 51 persons presently on death row.
  • Women account for only 1 in 110 persons actually executed in the modern era (since 1976).

14 Female Executions

List of Women Executed in the United States Since 1976

Number

      Date

        Name

Age
at Execution

Age
at Offense

Race

   State

   Method

1

November 2, 1984

Velma Margie Barfield

52

45

White

North Carolina

Lethal injection

2

February 3, 1998

Karla Faye Tucker

38

23

White

Texas

Lethal injection

3

March 30, 1998

Judias V. Buenoano

54

28

White

Florida

Electrocution

4

February 24, 2000

Betty Lou Beets

62

46

White

Texas

Lethal injection

5

May 2, 2000

Christina Marie Riggs

28

26

White

Arkansas

Lethal injection

6

January 11, 2001

Wanda Jean Allen

41

29

Black

Oklahoma

Lethal injection

7

May 1, 2001

Marilyn Kay Plantz

40

27

White

Oklahoma

Lethal injection

8

December 4, 2001

Lois Nadean Smith

61

41

White

Oklahoma

Lethal injection

9

May 10, 2002

Lynda Lyon Block

54

45

White

Alabama

Electrocution

10

October 9, 2002

Aileen Carol Wuornos

46

33

White

Florida

Lethal injection

11

September 14, 2005

Frances Elaine Newton

40

21

Black

Texas

Lethal injection

12

September 23, 2010

Teresa Wilson Bean Lewis

41

33

White

Virginia

Lethal injection

13

June 26, 2013

Kimberly LaGayle McCarthy

52

36

Black

Texas

Lethal injection

14

February 5, 2014

Suzanne Margaret Basso

59

44

White

Texas

Lethal injection

 

Source: Death Penalty Information Center

 

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