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Texas Set For Rare Execution Of Female Inmate
Texas is preparing to execute a woman convicted of tortuting and killing a mentally impaired man - only the 14th woman to be put to death in 38 years.
Unless there is a last-minute stay in the execution, Suzanne Basso, 59, is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection later today.
Almost 1,400 men have been put to death in the US since the Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976.
Texas, the nation's busiest death-penalty state, has executed four women and 505 men in that time.
Basso was sentenced to death for the 1998 murder of Louis "Buddy" Musso, 59.
The victim's battered and lacerated body, washed with bleach and scoured with a wire brush, was found in a ditch outside Houston.
An autopsy showed Mr Musso had several broken bones, including a skull fracture and 14 broken ribs.
His back was covered with cigarette burns, and bruises were found all over his body.
Prosecutors said Basso had lured him to Texas from New Jersey with the promise of marriage. She then made herself the beneficiary of Mr Musso's insurance policies and took over his social security benefits.
Basso's hope for a stay in the execution rests with the Supreme Court, after a lower court rejected her appeal.
Her lawyer, Winston Cochran Jr, has argued that the woman suffered from delusions and is not mentally competent to face the execution.
He said a degenerative disease left her paralysed, but Basso, who uses a wheelchair, has blamed her paralysis on a jail beating years ago.
The last woman to be executed in the US was Kimberly McCarthy, also in Texas, in June last year.
She was given a lethal injection for the murder of 71-year-old neighbour Dorothy Booth during a robbery.
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