A look at Women who have Sat on Death Row

New statistics reveal that as of January 1, 2013, sixty-three women were currently on death row. Just above two percent of the three-thousand, one-hundred and twenty-five within the population.

Over the past century, more than forty women have been put to death within the United States; twelve of those have occurred since the year 1976. Overall, whenever these numbers are compared to men either on death row, or those who have been executed, the numbers simply do not compare. The men’s numbers surpass the women’s by a significant amount. There has only been five hundred and seventy-one women executions according to court documents, with the earliest dating back to the year 1632, and the most recent taking place in the year 2012. Combined the total number of executions, dating back to the seventeenth century, still only accounts for 2.9% of verified executions within the U.S. since the year 1608.

Here is a look inside the twelve women who have been executed since the year 1976:

Velma Barfield was executed in North Carolina on November 2, 1984 for poisoning her boyfriend Stuart Taylor. Velma began forging checks and fearing he was suspecting her of doing so, she then poisoned him.

Karla Faye Tucker was executed in Texas on February 3, 1998 for killing a stranger with a pickaxe while attempting a robbery.

Judy Buenoano was executed in Florida on March 30, 1998 for the murder of her husband James Goodwill, and was also convicted of insurance fraud. She was also suspected of several arson cases, for insurance fraud purposes.

Betty Lou Beets was executed in Texas on February 24, 2000 for killing her husband Jimmy Beets. She first reported him missing and with the help of her son, they hid the body in her front yard.

Christina Riggs was executed in Arkansas on May 2, 2000 for smothering her two young children as they laid sleeping in their beds. Christina wrote out a suicide note asking for forgiveness, stating that she could no longer live this way. She later swallowed twenty-eight Elavil tablets and injected herself with a dose of potassium chloride lethal enough to kill five people. She forbade her attorney’s to put up a defense and begged for the death penalty. At the time of her execution, her final words were thank you.

Wanda Jean Allen was executed in Oklahoma on January 11, 2001 for killing her female lover. She claimed she acted out of self-defense.

Marilyn Plantz was executed in Oklahoma on May 1, 2001 for the death of her husband. Marilyn hired her teenage boyfriend along with his friend to kill her husband, in the exchange for three-hundred thousand dollars of the insurance money. The two boys drove her husband to a deserted location after assaulting him and set him on fire. Her boyfriend was also executed in the year 2000.

Lois Nadean Smith was executed in Oklahoma on December 2, 2001 for killing her son’s girlfriend who was just twenty-one years old at the time. She was stabbed in the throat and shot nine times. Lois claimed she did it to protect her son.

Lynda Lyon Block was executed in Alabama on May 10, 2002 for killing a police-officer in a Wal-Mart parking lot. The officer was caught in a gun battle with her boyfriend when she shot him.

Aileen Wuornos was executed in Florida on October 9, 2002. Aileen was a prostitute who left a trail of bodies along a busy highway just outside of Daytona Beach Florida. She admitted to killing seven men, who she claimed raped her.

Frances Newton was executed in Texas on September 14, 2005 for the murder of her family. Her husband Adrian who was twenty-three years old, her son Alton who was seven and her daughter Farrah who was just twenty-one months old. Newton claimed a drug dealer killed her family and declared her innocence on up till the moment of execution.

Teresa Lewis was executed in Virginia on September 23, 2010 for the death of her husband and stepson. Teresa hired two hit-men to kill her family, so she could collect the insurance money.

To say that women executions are rare, is an understatement. As the capital punishment system advances, the better chances a woman gains of being released from the system. Statistics show that women are liable for one in every ten murder arrests, equaling out to ten percent. Out of this percentage only one in fifty of those women will receive the death sentence during the trial. Plus, only one in sixty-seven of those women are presently on death row, and one in every one-hundred of those women were essentially put to death up to the current day.

One-hundred and seventy-three death sentences have been inflicted upon women since the year 1973, which were spread out over twenty-six states and thirty-nine jurisdictions. Among those states, only five of them are liable for more than half of the death sentences inflicted. (Florida, Ohio, Texas, California and North Carolina)

Sixty-three women sit on death row at this time, ranging in age from twenty-eight to seventy-nine years old. Some of these women have been behind bars for as long as twenty-six years, where others have only been incarcerated for a few months. However, among these sixty-three women, some of their sentences have reversed, and are awaiting final judgment.

Why do women kill? That is a question that realistically does not have an answer. The better question is. Why does anyone kill? It is all about choice. Regardless of how much pain you have been subjected to, making the decision to take a life, comes with consequences; a consequence that has cost five-hundred and seventy-one women worldwide, their lives.