independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Female murderer executed in Texas

Suzanne Basso killed a mentally impaired man near Houston more than 15 years ago (AP/Texas Department of Criminal Justice)

A woman convicted of torturing and killing a mentally impaired man she lured to Texas with the promise of marriage was put to death in a rare execution of a female prisoner.

The lethal injection of Suzanne Basso, 59, made her only the 14th woman executed in the US since the Supreme Court in 1976 allowed capital punishment to resume.

Almost 1,400 men have been put to death during that time.

Basso told a warden, "no sir," when asked to make a final statement. She appeared to be holding back tears, then smiled at two friends watching through a nearby window. She mouthed a brief word to them and nodded.

As the drug took effect, she began to snore.

Basso was pronounced dead 11 minutes after the lethal dose of pentobarbital began.

She was sentenced to die for the 1998 killing of 59-year-old Louis "Buddy" Musso, whose battered and lacerated body, washed with bleach and scoured with a wire brush, was found in a ditch outside Houston.

Prosecutors said Basso had made herself the beneficiary of Mr Musso's insurance policies and took over his social security benefits after luring him from New Jersey.

The execution, the second this year in Texas, came about an hour after the Supreme Court rejected a last-day appeal from Basso's lawyer, who argued she was not mentally competent.

Lower federal courts and state courts also refused to halt the punishment, upholding the findings of a state judge last month that Basso had a history of fabricating stories about herself, seeking attention and manipulating psychological tests.

Basso's lawyer, Winston Cochran, argued she suffered from delusions and that the state law governing competency was unconstitutionally flawed.

About 60 women are on death row in the US, making up about 2% of the 3,100 condemned inmates.

Texas, the nation's busiest death-penalty state, has now executed five women and 505 men.

AP

Press Association

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