Texas executes woman despite questions over trial, mental health

Suzanne Basso becomes the 14th woman executed since 1976 in the U.S.

By Natasha Lennard

Published February 6, 2014 3:07PM (EST)

              (AP/Ric Feld)
(AP/Ric Feld)

After a last minute appeal claiming that Suzanne Basso was "mentally delusional" failed she became the 14th woman to be executed in the U.S. since 1976 on Wednesday. Women make up only about 2 percent of death penalty sentences.

Texas -- the highest death penalty state -- killed Basso, 59, by lethal injection despite lingering questions from her legal team about her conviction and whether she was mentally fit to face capital punishment.

The Guardian reported:

Basso's lawyer, Winston Cochran, asked the Supreme Court to review Texas's criteria for assessing the mental health of prisoners sentenced to death.

In earlier appeals to state and federal courts, Cochran argued that Basso was delusional and did not meet the standard of mental competency required for an execution to proceed.

However, last month a judge in Houston ruled that Basso was competent enough to be executed. Cochran also contended that she had not received a fair trial. He said that no mitigating evidence was presented, the testimony of a medical examiner was questionable and no testimony or evidence showed that she personally killed Musso or proves exactly how he died.

Originally from New York, Basso was found guilty of the 1998 murder of 59-year-old Louis "Buddy" Musso.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Capital Punishment Death Penalty Execution Lethal Injection Suzanne Basso Texas