Suzanne Basso Becomes 14th Woman Executed in America Since 1976

Suzanne Basso, a woman who murdered a mentally challenged man, died by lethal injection Wednesday.

Capital murder defendant Suzanne Basso.

Capital murder defendant Suzanne Basso, 59, was found guilty of the torture and slaying of a mentally impaired man near Houston in 1998.

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UPDATE, 8:21 p.m.: Suzanne Basso was pronounced dead at 6:26 CDT after being executed by lethal injection, according to The Associated Press.
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Original story:

In 1998 Suzanne Basso was found guilty of killing Louis “Buddy” Musso, a mentally impaired man she duped into coming to Texas from New Jersey, with the promise of marriage. Prosecutors said Basso, a New York native, stole Musso’s insurance policy and Social Security benefits. His bruised and beaten corpse, which was also marked with cigarette burns and cuts, was found outside Houston, according to The Associated Press.

Basso’s execution, if it occurs, will make her the 14th woman executed in the country since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. Roughly 1,400 men have been executed in that same period.  Texas has executed four of the 13 women and 505 of the men.  

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request to stop Basso's execution on Tuesday, which leaves the U.S. Supreme Court as her only potential ally.

Basso is said to have manipulated psychiatric exams and lied about her background. She uses a wheelchair and claims her paralysis was caused by a prison beating. Winston Cochran Jr., Basso’s lawyer, argued in front of the appeals court that Basso was delusional and not mentally competent enough to be executed. He also said the state laws regarding competency were unconstitutional.

Colleen Barnett, the former Harris County assistant district attorney who prosecuted Basso, has held firm in her view. “It was challenging, but I saw her for who she was...I was determined I was not going to let her get away with it," reported the AP.

Five other people were convicted alongside Basso, including her son, but she was the only one given the death penalty.

A report published by the National Registry of Exonerations found 87 criminal convictions were dropped in 2013, the highest in the registry’s 25-year history, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Texas had 13 exonerations last year -- more than any other state.