Death Row


Women are rarely sentenced to death in the United States and executions of women are even rarer. Researchers have suggested that women who are sentenced to death are often perceived as breaking gender norms.

Women and the Death Penalty, with Professor Mary Atwell

Current Female Death Row Prisoners

As of January 1, 2023, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund reports that there were 50 women on death rows across the United States.

ALFranklinScott, Christie MichelleW
ALHoustonBlackmon, PatriciaB
ALHoustonGobble, Tierra CapriW
ALMobileKeaton, HeatherB
ALRussellGraham, LisaW
AZMaricopaAndriano, WendiW
AZPimaForde, ShawnaW
AZMaricopaAllen, SammanthaW
CAAlamedaMichaud, MichelleW
CALos AngelesMartin, ValerieW
CALos AngelesMcDermott, MaureenW
CALos AngelesRodriguez, AngelinaL
CALos AngelesSamuels, MaryW
CALos AngelesWilliams, ManlingA
CAModocRhoades, CherieN
CAOrangeAlfaro, MariaL
CAOrangeNelson, TanyaA
CARiversideHann, Jessica Marie*W
CARiversideMagana, BelindaL
CARiversideRottiers, BrookeW
CARiversideSarinana, CathyW
CARiversideSnyder, JaneenW
CASan BernardinoCoffman, CynthiaW
CASan DiegoDalton, KerryW
CASan DiegoEubanks, SusanW
CASan DiegoGonzales, VeronicaL
CASan MateoCarrington, CelesteB
CAVenturaCaro, SocorroL
CARiversideHunter, Lorraine AlisonB
FLBrevardAllen, MargaretB
FLDuvalCole, TiffanyW
FLEscambiaBrown, TinaB
GAGwinnettMoss, TiffanyB
IDAdaRow, RobinW
KYFayetteCaudill, VirginiaW
LAOrleansFrank, AntoinetteB
MSForrestChamberlin, LisaW
NCForsythMoore, Blanche T.W
NCWakeParker, CarletteB
OHTrumbullRoberts, DonnaW
OHWarrenDrain, VictoriaW
OKOklahomaAndrew, BrendaW
PAWashingtonTharp, Michelle SueW
TNKnoxPike, ChristaW
TXCameronLucio, MelissaL
TXDallasRoutier, DarlieW
TXHarrisCarty, LindaB
TXHarrisSheppard, EricaB
TXRandallHolberg, BrittanyW
TXSmithCargill, KimberlyW

To see Professor Streib’s summaries of the cases of the women who were on death row as of December 2012, click here.

* Jessica Marie Hann, a trans woman, was sentenced under the name Jason Michael Hann and transitioned while on California’s death row

News & Developments


Mar 19, 2015

INNOCENCE: Debra Milke Exonerated from Arizona Death Row

UPDATE: On March 23, 2015, Judge Rosa Mroz offi­cial­ly dis­missed the charges against Milke. Milke has been added to DPIC’s exon­er­a­tion list. See Milke’s state­ment on her exon­er­a­tion. PREVIOUSLY: On March 17, the Arizona Supreme Court denied a request by pros­e­cu­tors that it review a low­er court’s order that dis­missed the charges against Debra Milke as a result of egre­gious” police and pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al mis­con­duct and bar­ring her retri­al. The court’s deci­sion effec­tive­ly ends pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al efforts to rein­state mur­der charges against Milke.

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Nov 28, 2023

Discussions with DPIC: Gender and the Death Penalty with Sandra Babcock

In this month’s episode of Discussions with DPIC, Managing Director Anne Holsinger speaks with Sandra Babcock (pic­tured), Clinical Professor at Cornell Law School, Faculty Director, and founder of the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide. Ms. Babcock’s clin­ic cur­rent­ly rep­re­sents death sen­tenced women in the United States, Malawi, and Tanzania and is focused on pro­vid­ing defense teams in reten­tion­ist coun­tries with train­ing and con­sul­ta­tion in order to pro­vide the best pos­si­ble legal rep­re­sen­ta­tion for indi­vid­u­als fac­ing sen­tences of death. The Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide also produces…

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Sep 05, 2023

Sole Woman on Tennessee Death Row, Age 18 at Time of Crime, Raises New Appeal Based on Youthfulness

Attorneys for Christa Pike, the only woman on Tennessee’s death row, filed a motion on August 30 to re-open her appeals based on a recent deci­sion from the Tennessee Supreme Court. In 2022, the Court ruled in State v. Booker that manda­to­ry life sen­tences in homi­cide cas­es are uncon­sti­tu­tion­al when imposed on juve­niles, draw­ing on U.S. Supreme Court prece­dent that held that juve­niles are less mature, more vul­ner­a­ble to peer pres­sure, and gen­er­al­ly less cul­pa­ble than adults. Ms. Pike’s attor­neys argue that Bookers rea­son­ing applies to all youth­ful defen­dants, not…

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Aug 25, 2023

Two Amicus Briefs Argue That Gender Bias Denied Two Death-Sentenced Women Fair Trials

In July 2023, legal schol­ars, a civ­il rights group, and var­i­ous orga­ni­za­tions which advo­cate for vic­tims of domes­tic and gen­der-based vio­lence filed ami­cus briefs in sup­port of two death-sen­tenced female pris­on­ers, Brenda Andrew and Brittany Holberg. Both ami­cus briefs allege that gen­der bias in their cas­es denied them fair trials.

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Nov 10, 2022

Death Penalty Information Center Launches Series on Human Rights and the U.S. Death Penalty

The Death Penalty Information Center, sup­port­ed by the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, launched a new project on Human Rights and the U.S. Death Penalty on November 4, 2022, with a live-streamed pan­el dis­cus­sion at the German embassy in Washington, D.C. The record­ed event, which fea­tured not­ed experts and was attend­ed by schol­ars, advo­cates, and mem­bers of the world diplo­mat­ic corps, was the first in a series of webi­na­rs that will spot­light human rights issues in the use and imple­men­ta­tion of the U.S. death penalty.

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Oct 25, 2021

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Review Federal Appeals Court Ruling Overturning Grant of a New Trial for Texas Woman on Death Row for What May Have Been the Accidental Death of Her Child

The U.S. Supreme Court on October 18, 2021 denied review in the case of Texas death-row pris­on­er Melissa Elizabeth Lucio (pic­tured). Lucio was con­vict­ed and sen­tenced to death on charges that she mur­dered her two-year-old daugh­ter, Mariah. Lucio has long main­tained that Mariah died from an acci­den­tal fall.

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