Analysis of women executed in the United States since 1976
Drugs – multiple events
Velma Barfield – developed drug addiction via pain-killers, subsequently killed six partners. Apparently reformed in prison, politics involved in clemency decision.
Wanda Jean Allen – low IQ, hit by truck as child – double murder of female partners – domestic violence, she being the abusive partner.
Kimberly McCarthy – crack cocaine addict – multiple murders of elderly under care for financial gain ( presumably to buy drugs ).
Serial Domestic violence murder, MVC
Judy Buenoano – apparently a genuine psychopath – murdered several husbands with arsenic, motive apparently financial. Maintained her innocence – so could examine evidence in detail.
Betty Lou Beets – long history of domestic violence, attempted murder of previous husbands, killed final husband.
Lynda Lyon Block – intelligent extreme radical – killed a cop – dubious self-defense claim.
Single event – not “worst of the worst” – financial motive
Karla Faye Tucker – joint felony murder under influence of drugs, did not strike initial blows. Model prisoner, international clemency appeals ignored.
Marilyn Kay Plantz – drug addict, killed husband for money in conspiracy with boyfriend
Teresa Lewis – low IQ – single incident (husband+stepson), alcohol and painkillers, did not carry out murders herself, financial motive
Suzanne Basso – one of six co-defendants convicted in the August 1998 murder of Louis “Buddy” Musso, a mentally retarded man, who was tortured and murdered for his life insurance money
Aileen Wuornos – prostitute – multiple killings ( claimed self-defense ). Possibly a case of mental illness, she apparently hated and was paranoid about men, but also was criminal, and then remorseful ( she fired her lawyers so execution was not delayed ).
Lois Nadean Smith – single murder of her son’s ex-girlfriend, some doubt as to whether son was the more guilty party ( c.f. Michelle Byrom )
By reason of unusual defense
Christina Marie Riggs – severe depression – killed own children then survived own suicide attempt – unjust – mental illness, state-assisted suicide
By reason didn’t kill anyone
Frances Newton – allegedly murdered her own family, terrible legal representation, certainly innocent in my opinion.
Apparently just one genuine psychopath here – Judy Buenoano.
The others can be attributed to “heat of the moment” / drugs / depression etc.
None of these women would be a significant danger to prison staff.
In none of these cases was the death penalty justified.