High Court refuses to hear appeal of woman on death row

A British woman on death row in Texas, convicted of murdering a young mother, had her latest appeal set aside by the Supreme Court.

State corrections officials can now proceed with setting an execution date, but there is no indication when that will happen. The justices without comment on Monday refused to review her case.

Linda Carty, 52, has made a public plea to British citizens, asking them and human rights groups to intervene and win her clemency.

Carty, a grandmother and one-time teacher, is from the West Indies nation of St. Kitts, a former British colony. She moved to Texas when she was 23.

She was convicted of taking part in the May 2001 murder of Joana Rodriguez, a 25-year-old Houston-area woman. According to the trial record, Rodriguez and her 4-day-old son were abducted by men demanding drugs and cash. Two other people inside the home were beaten and tied up.

The young mother was bound with duct tape, a bag was taped over her head and she was placed in the trunk of a car. Police said Rodriguez died from suffocation, while her son survived.

Prosecutors convinced a jury that Carty had hired the three men to kidnap Rodriguez, so she could steal her baby because she was no longer able to get pregnant. Evidence was presented to show Carty tried to masquerade as a new mother in order to rebuild her relationship with a boyfriend.

She was sentenced to death in February 2002. She is one of 10 female prisoners on a special death row at the Mountain View prison in Gatesville, Texas.

Carty asserts her innocence, and her appellate legal team claims her original trial was “catastrophically flawed.” Among the allegations filed in various appeals are that her court-appointed lawyer was incompetent and failed to meet Carty until immediately before the trial, failed to spot flaws and inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case, failed to interview witnesses and did not look at key mitigating evidence.

Reprieve, a British human rights groups serving as her new legal team, also said she should have been given access upon arrest to the British consulate.

The British Foreign Office has filed two amicus briefs in U.S. federal courts in Carty’s case, which complain that Britain was not notified of her original arrest, said a Foreign Office spokesman who declined to be named, in line with policy. The Foreign Office remains in close touch with Carty and her legal representatives, the spokesman said.

“We’re continuing to provide her with consular assistance,” he said. “We’ve also made the U.S. aware of our stance (against) the death penalty.”

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