BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – IN her final plea for clemency, a Kittitian of Anguillan parentage, whom the media have dubbed ‘Death Row Granny’, has called on the British government to save her from becoming the first female of that country to be executed in 50 years.
She is 53-year-old Linda Anita Carty, who holds a UK dependent territory passport and has spent 10 years on Death Row in the Mountain View Unit women’s prison outside Gatesville in Texas after being convicted and sentenced to death in 2002.
According to Mail Online, Carty in an emotional plea said, “I wouldn't ask the British Government to lobby for me if I knew that I was guilty, because it would be an embarrassment to myself and my family, but also to the country that I love. When I say that I am innocent and that I didn’t commit this crime, I mean that.”
Carty was sentenced to death by lethal injection for the murder of her neighbour in Texas, Joana Rodriguez (25), and plotted with three men to steal the woman’s son, Ray.
Evidence presented at her trial in 2002 stated that on May 16, 2001, three men, Chris Robinson, Gerald Anderson and Carlos Williams, invaded the apartment of Rodriguez, beat her up and duct taped her partner (Raymundo Cabrera) and another individual after beating them also, and abducted the woman and her three-day-old son.
Further evidence submitted in the trial stated that the abductors hog-tied Rodriguez with duct tape, put a plastic bag over her head and placed her in the trunk of a car rented by Carty. Rodriguez died from suffocation but her son was found unharmed in the back seat of another car.
The three men, who were convicted criminals, pleaded guilty to lesser charges and claimed that Carty had recruited them to help kidnap and murder Rodriguez so she could have the young woman’s baby.
Carty however pleaded not guilty and to date maintains her innocence. She said the three men were former drugs traffickers who wanted revenge on her for her work as a secret informant for the US Drug Enforcement Administration.
Following her death sentence, Carty, on Friday, September 18, 2009, had lost her appeal to the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans and was denied review by the US Supreme Court in June 2010.
According to Mail Online, Carty’s request for a retrial was based on claims she was given inadequate legal support during her original trial and the government were blocked in their efforts to help her.
Her daughter, Jovelle Carty-Joubert, has been rallying British MPs for support for two years following the US Supreme Court's refusal to re-open her case. And the Foreign Office said it was lobbying the Texas authorities to stop her execution.
A statement said: “The Prime Minister and British Government are deeply concerned.”
It was reported that at her trial, Carty was forced to accept a local court-appointed lawyer, Jerry Guerinot, whose alleged incompetence had already led to 20 of his clients ending up on death row, more than any other defence lawyer in the US.
Media houses reported that Guerinot’s catalogue of serious failings in Carty’s case include:
• Failure to spot obvious flaws and inconsistencies in the prosecution case;
• Failure to spend more than 15 minutes with Carty before the trial;
• Failure to investigate key mitigating evidence;
• Failure to inform Carty, a British citizen, of her right to consular assistance; and
• Failure to inform her husband of his right not to testify against his wife.
Also, based on the testimony of their informants, the prosecution’s theory was that Carty was afraid of losing her husband and thought that if she had another baby he would stay.
The prosecution alleged that she was unable to get pregnant and had hired three men to kidnap Rodriguez and that she planned to “cut the child out” of the pregnant mother.
According to one online media house, the baby is of a different race to Carty and “the utter implausibility of this theory should have been obvious: Joana Rodriguez had already given birth to the child, as Linda clearly knew, being her neighbour. Since the baby would be a difference race to Linda, she could not possibly pass it off as her own. When the prosecution produced ‘the scissors’ that Linda was supposedly going to use to cut the child out, Guerinot failed to point out that they were bandage scissors, with a rounded end, obviously useless for any such purpose”.
Linda Anita Carty, also known as Linda Hunte, is a former resident of Old Road and was a primary school teacher in St. Kitts before migrating to England and subsequently to the US.