Women

ARTICLES:The Story of a Death Row Inmate Who Wanted to Die

In 1996, Illinois Governor Jim Edgar commuted the death sentence of Guin Garcia to life without parole, even though Garcia herself had stopped fighting for her life. Garcia would have been the first woman executed in the U.S. in twelve years. She had been convicted of killing the man who had physically abused her, but she had dropped her

NEW RESOURCES: Women and the Death Penalty

Victor Streib, who has been researching the subject of women and the death penalty for 20 years, has released an updated version of his report “Death Penalty for Female Offenders.” In his research, Prof. Streib, a professor at Elon University School of Law in North Carolina and Ohio Northern University’s Pettit College of Law, has found that women are significantly less likely than men to receive a death sentence, possibly because prosecutors seem less inclined to seek the death penalty against female offenders. He noted , “Women [are charged with] roughly 10 to 12 percent of the murders in the country. They get about 2 percent of the death sentences and get less than 1 percent of the actual executions.” He also noted that it is impossible to know why prosecutors decide to seek the death penalty in some cases but not others.

Women News and Developments - 2007

ARBITRARINESS: Woman Faces Federal Death Sentence While Triggerman Receives 17 Years

ARBITRARINESS: Woman Faces Federal Death Sentence While Triggerman Receives 17 Years

Donna Moonda (pictured) is facing the federal death penalty in Ohio for hiring a man to kill her husband.  The person who actually shot and killed the victim, Damian Bradford, received a sentence of only 17.5 years in exchange for his testimony against Moonda.  Moonda and Bradford were convicted in separate trials of orchestrating and carrying out the plot to kill Dr. Gulam Moonda in an alledged effort to share his estate. The two defendants met in a drug rehabilitation center.

Texas Court Grants Stay on Basis of Possible Innocence

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stayed Cathy Henderson's scheduled execution of June 13 and has remanded her case back to the trial court for a more careful review of new scientific evidence that casts doubt on the state's claim that she intentionally killed Brandon Baugh, an infant in her care. The appeals court decision was largely based on a recent affidavit submitted by former Travis County medical examiner Dr. Roberto Bayardo (pictured), whose expert testimony was crucial to the state's case against Henderson. In his new sworn statement, Dr. Bayardo recanted his original testimony that the child's injuries were the result of an intentional act by Henderson, and stated that new evidence suggests the infant's injuries could have been the result of an accidental fall, a claim that Henderson has maintained since her 1994 arrest.

Texas Medical Examiner No Longer Stands by Testimony that sent Woman to Death Row

Just weeks before Texas is scheduled to execute Cathy Henderson (pictured) for the murder of a child that she was babysitting, the medical examiner whose testimony helped send her to death row has said he no longer stands by his original opinion that the child's death resulted from an intentional act on Henderson's part. In light of new scientific evidence showing that Brandon Baugh's death could have resulted from an accidental fall, retired Travis County chief medical examiner Roberto Bayardo has submitted an affidavit to the court stating, "Had the new scientific information been available to me in 1995, I would not have been able to testify the way I did about the degree of force needed to cause Brandon Baugh's head injury. I cannot determine with a reasonable degree of medical certainty whether Brandon Baugh's injuries resulted from an intentional act of an accidental fall."

Texas High Court Dismisses Woman's Death Sentence As Unsupported by the Evidence

In an important ruling, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has thrown out the death sentence of Kenisha Berry, who was sentenced to death in 1998 for the murder of her infant son, Malachi. The 5-4 decision stated that Jefferson County prosecutors misstated the special issue presented to jurors regarding Berry's likelihood of being a future danger to society, one of the key questions Texas jurors consider when they are deliberating a death sentence.

Upcoming Texas Execution Raises Questions of Appropriate Sentence

UPDATE: Henderson's execution date of April 18 was stayed in order to consider new defense motions in the case. A new execution date of June 13 was tentatively set.
Upcoming Texas Execution Raises Questions of Appropriate Sentence
Cathy Henderson (pictured with Sr. Helen Prejean) is scheduled to be executed in Texas on April 18 for the 1994 murder of Brandon Baugh, an infant she was babysitting. Henderson would be the 12th woman put to death in the U.S. since capital punishment was reinstated. (See DPIC's updated page on Women and the Death Penalty). Since her arrest, Henderson has maintained that the child's death was accidental. Henderson said that she is sorry for Brandon's death and that she feels regret every day for the pain she caused his family. Watch an interview of Henderson with the Kansas City Star (Windows Media Player).

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