Texas carried out its 500th execution since capital punishment was re-instated back in 1982. The condemned woman was Kimberly McCarthy, a 52-year old black woman who was the country’s first female inmate to die by lethal injection in nearly three years. McCarthy was sentenced to Texas’ death row after being convicted of the robbery and murder of a college professor in 1997.
Her death marks a grim milestone in a state that kills more people than any other in the country. Texas has carried out more than 40 percent of the roughly 1,300 executions that have taken place in the United States since the Supreme Court re-instated capital punishment in 1976. A 2011 study found that 92 percent of men sentenced to die in Texas were black.
As Texas got ready to kill its 500th person, Associated Press reporter Michael Graczyk reflected at the Huffington Post on what it’s like to witness so much state sanctioned death. Graczyk writes that he’s seen roughly one execution each week in Texas since he arrived at the AP in 1984. He goes on to describe in heartbreaking detail the scenes he’s witnessed. Read an excerpt after the jump. Trigger warning: these scenes are graphic.