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Groups protest 500th death penalty execution

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Wednesday the state of Texas carried out its 500th execution since the state resumed the death penalty in 1982.

Kimberly McCarthy was died shortly after 6:30 p.m. with a lethal injection. She was executed for the 1997 robbery, beating, and fatal stabbing of her 71-year-old neighbor. McCarthy was also the first woman executed in the U.S. in nearly three years.

It's here in the 3700 block of east MLK where anti-death penalty groups laid out 500 tombstones in memory of those who've been executed in Texas over the past 31 years. They also held a memorial.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday evening, a group gathers for a peaceful demonstration in front of the Capitol.

Delia Perez-Meyer and Gratia Winship are two of the nearly two dozen who showed up, but the story of why they're here is very different.

"My boyfriend was murdered here in Austin," Gratia Winship said.

"I have an innocent brother on death row," Delia Perez-Meyer said.

Both women oppose the death penalty at the time of this interview, McCarthy, was entering the death chamber in Huntsville.

"It's a horrible number. I'm ashamed. And debased by it. We all are," Winship said.

"It's been a really truly emotional day," Perez-Meyer said.

Both women are joining groups such as Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, holding up messages for drivers to read as they pass by the Capitol gates. Director Les Breeding says he and others here fear innocent people are being executed.

"Twelve people have been taken off Texas death row because they were found to be totally factually innocent," Breeding said.

Perez-Meyer believes her brother Luis Castro Perez is falsely convicted of killing three women in Austin during the late 90s.

Both women say it's faith they turn to cope with their personal pain as more men and women sit on death row.

"What gives me hope I know that my brother is innocent. I have faith in God that the truth is going to come out," Perez-Meyer said.

"When Christ said that he who is without sin cast the first stone. He did not pick up a stone and cast it," Winship said.

Kimberly McCarthy was pronounced dead at 6:37 p.m. Wednesday evening.Three more executions are scheduled next month here in Texas.

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