Death row inmate speaks after losing appeal

September 18, 2009 9:12:52 PM PDT
A Houston woman convicted of killing a local mother lost an appeal Friday and is now one step closer to death. Maintaining her innocence, Linda Carty is still not giving up hope. Her current attorney says the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called this a close one, finding that her trial attorney acted unreasonably. But the court also concluded that even if her attorney had done everything she asked at trial, the evidence against her was overwhelming.

Inside the Mountain View unit in Gatesville, where all women sentenced to death in Texas are housed, we met Tuesday with Linda Carty.

"I want my name cleared. I know I didn't do it," said Carty.

She was convicted and sentenced to death for the 2001 abduction and murder of Joana Rodriguez. Prosecutors say Carty kidnapped Rodriguez and her infant son because Carty wanted the baby. Rodriguez was found dead in the trunk of a car Carty had rented. She had been suffocated with a plastic bag over her head.

"I had nothing to do. I could never do something like that," Carty said.

Carty at one time was a confidential informant for the Drug Enforcement Agency. She has maintained her innocence all along, saying she was framed by folks she met while working undercover.

She blames her conviction on her trial attorney who she claims failed to do his homework. She said he neglected to present witnesses at trial who would speak favorably of her and refused to spend more than 15 minutes with her prior to trial.

Just last week, a human rights group erected a cardboard cutout of Carty in a public square in London while playing an audio recording of her pleading for help from the British government. She was born on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts so she is considered a British national.

"There are very, very strong legal reasons why the case needs to be looked at again," said Paul Lynch, British Consul General in Houston.

Lynch says Carty deserves a new trial because the British Consulate was not notified of her capital murder charge prior to her conviction.

"Because we were not informed, Linda Carty was not given all the assistance she should have been given by her government. And therefore she did not get the representation that she should have had at her first trial," said Lynch.

The appeals court ruled Carty's request for help from the British government came too late. Carty's attorney says still that their quest to save her life is not over.

"Killing me is not going to bring you the end of it because there is going to be a murderer out there who got away with it," Carty said.

Her attorney says they are left now with two options: asking the Fifth Circuit to reconsider or asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. It's possible they may do both. If they don't win an appeal, Carty could be executed sometime early next year.

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