List of women on death row in the United States

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This is a list of women on death row in the United States. The number of death row inmates fluctuates daily with new convictions, appellate decisions, sentence commutations, deaths (through execution or otherwise), and exonerations.[1] Due to this fluctuation as well as lag and inconsistencies in inmate reporting procedures across jurisdictions, the information in this article may be out of date.[2] The time on death row counter starts on the day they were first placed on death row. It does not count time incarcerated prior to sentencing nor does it discount time spent in prison off death row in cases where death sentences were overturned before being reinstated.


Name Description of crime Time on death row Other
Lisa Montgomery Lisa M. Montgomery was convicted of the 2004 murder of Bobbie Jo Stinnett. Montgomery killed the pregnant Stinnett before delivering and kidnapping Stinnett's unborn baby.[3] 9 years, 3 months and 17 days Noted neuroscientist VS Ramachandran testified that Montgomery suffered from severe pseudocyesis delusion. Ramachandran testified that childhood sexual abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder predisposed her to pseudocyesis, a mental condition that causes a woman to falsely believe she is pregnant and exhibit outward signs of pregnancy. Ramachandran stated that Montgomery was suffering from a severe mental disease or defect when she committed the crime and that she was unable to appreciate the nature and quality of her acts.[4] Federal prosecutor Roseann Ketchmark characterized Ramachandran's theory linking the murder/kidnapping to pseudocyesis as "voodoo science."[5]


Name Description of crime Time on death row Other
Patricia Blackmon Blackmon was convicted in the death of her two-year-old adopted daughter, Dominiqua Bryant. According to an autopsy report, the child suffered a fractured skull, several broken bones, and bruises which included a shoe print on her chest. 15 years, 1 month and 14 days Because the victim was under the age of 14, Blackmon was eligible for the death penalty. She argued in her appeal that an age-based statute was unconstitutional.
Tierra Capri Gobble She was convicted in the death of her four-month-old son, Phoenix Cody Parrish. According to a coroner’s report, the infant suffered extensive bruising, a fractured skull, broken ribs and broken wrists. The cause of death was determined to be head trauma consistent with child abuse.[6] 11 years, 7 months and 20 days
Shonda Johnson Johnson was a polyandrist with three husbands: Randy McCullar, William McIntyre, and Tim Richards. McCullar filed for divorce, sought custody of their child, and testified before a grand jury in a bigamy case against Shonda. According to court records, Tim and Shonda followed Randy to a church parking lot, where she and Tim Richards fatally shot Randy.[6] 7 years, 8 months and 29 days
Christie Michelle Scott[7] In August 2008, a blaze broke out at the Russellville, Ala., home of Christie Michelle Scott. A house fire at the family home killed Christie’s six-year-old son, Mason. It was discovered that Scott had purchased a $100,000 life insurance policy on her son just 12 hours before his death. She was convicted of the arson and murder.[6] 8 years, 11 months and 16 days Mason had been diagnosed with multiple psychiatric disorders including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder.[8]
Lisa Leanne Graham Convicted of capital murder for persuading a family friend to gun her daughter down on a remote dirt road in Russell County on July 5, 2007, Lisa Leanne Graham was sentenced to death.[9] 1 year, 4 months and 25 days Graham’s lead attorney Margaret Young Brown countered that King’s evaluation showed Graham had “borderline intellectual functioning” that casts doubt on her capacity to take reasonable actions.


Name Description of crime Time on death row Other
Wendi Andriano Andriano was convicted of the murder of her husband Joe Andriano. Her 33-year-old husband Joe was bludgeoned and stabbed to death in the couple's Ahwatukee, Arizona apartment. His autopsy revealed that he had sustained 23 blows to the skull, and traces of sodium azide (a toxin similar in activity to cyanide) were also found in his system.[10][11] 12 years, 6 months and 29 days Joe Andriano was terminally ill at the time of his death.
Shawna Forde On May 30, 2009, 29-year-old Raul Flores and his daughter, Brisenia, 9, of Arivaca, Arizona, were killed at home during a home invasion by Forde, Jason Eugene Bush, and Albert Gaxiola.[12] 6 years, 4 months and 29 days Forde was active in the Minuteman movement, a grassroots anti-illegal immigration group that would station themselves along the U.S. southern border, keep watch out for Mexicans crossing the border illegally and then alert the Border Patrol. Forde allegedly boasted of robbing drug dealers to finance the movement. Prosecutors alleged Forde and her associates entered the trailer disguised as government officials looking for fugitives. No drugs were found in the trailer.[13]


Name Description of crime Time on death row Other
Rosie Alfaro On June 15, 1990, 9-year-old Autumn Wallace was stabbed to death. Prosecutors say 18-year-old Alfaro, an acquaintance of the family, robbed the house for drug money, and killed Wallace so she would not be identified. 25 years and 7 days In August 2007, the California Supreme Court voted unanimously to uphold Alfaro's death sentence.
Belinda Magana Separate juries concluded in January 2015 that this Corona mother and her boyfriend deserved the death penalty for the 2009 murder of her toddler son who was scalded and subjected to beatings before he died five days later.[14]
Dora Buenrostro Buenrostro was convicted of killing her three children by stabbing. Prosecutors contend that she killed the children in a rage after a fight with her ex-husband, Alex. They allege that she planned the killings in an attempt to implicate him in the murders.[15] 18 years, 9 months and 19 days
Socorro Caro Caro was convicted of shooting and killing three of her four young sons as they slept. The youngest child, who was 1 at the time, was unharmed. She then turned the gun on herself in a suicide attempt. Though she suffered a gunshot wound to the head, she survived after two surgeries. 15 years, 3 months and 16 days Caro says she has no memory of that night, but has a history of abuse and infidelity at the hands of her husband.[16]
Celeste Carrington Carrington admitted to the fatal shooting of Victor Esparanza, janitor at a shoe factory, in January 1992, and Caroline Gleason, a property manager at a real estate office in Palo Alto, in another robbery two months later. Five days after killing Gleason, she shot and wounded Allan Marks, a Redwood City pediatrician, during a robbery of his office.[17] 22 years, 7 months and 28 days Carrington was raised in poverty in Philadelphia, where she was abused by both parents. After years of sexual abuse by her father, she became pregnant with his child at age 14.[17]
Cynthia Coffman Along with boyfriend James Marlow, Coffman was convicted of the murders of four women in October and November 1986. 27 years, 10 months and 20 days
Kerry Lyn Dalton Kerry Lyn Dalton was convicted of torturing and murdering Irene Louise in 1988 at a mobile home park in Live Oak Springs, California.[18] She and three others, Mark Lee Tompkins, Sheryl Ann Baker, and another man known only by the name "George", were alleged to have used various weapons to commit a torture-murder: a cast-iron frying pan, a knife, and a syringe filled with battery acid. 22 years, 1 month and 28 days Dalton's sister has spent the last few years campaigning for her sister's release, insisting she is innocent. No body was ever found and the conviction was based solely on the basis of hearsay information.[19] Dalton was convicted on the basis of alleged confessions from Ms. Dalton to others who related these confessions to prosecutor's investigator Richard Cooksey. No confession has come directly from Kerry Dalton.[20]
Susan Eubanks Eubanks was convicted of the shooting deaths of her four sons. She also had a self-inflicted gunshot wound to her abdomen, but survived.[21] 20 years, 9 months and 8 days
Veronica Gonzales Along with her husband, Gonzales was convicted of the 1995 scalding death her 4-year-old niece. She was convicted of first-degree murder with special circumstances of torture and mayhem. They are the first married couple in California on death row for the same crime. 19 years, 1 month and 1 day The child was sent to live with Gonzales in 1995 because her mother was in drug rehabilitation and her father was in jail for child molestation. Testimony from the trial detailed a long history of abuse, including being forced to live in a box, hung by her hands from a hook in a closet and burned with a hair dryer.[22]
Maureen McDermott McDermott was convicted of hiring an orderly at the hospital where she worked to kill her roommate, Stephen Eldridge. Prosecutors allege the motive was to collect mortgage insurance on a house they co-owned. In addition to having been repeatedly stabbed, Eldridge's penis was severed post mortem. The orderly testified that this was done at McDermott’s insistence, in order to make it appear that the killing was a “homosexual murder” because, in theory, the police would be unlikely to investigate it thoroughly.[23] 27 years, 1 month and 13 days McDermott appealed the sentence on the basis that no African-Americans served on her jury. It is illegal to strike jurors on the basis of race. Her appeal was denied.[23]
Sandi Nieves Nieves was convicted of the murders of four of her children by setting fire to the family home. She was also found guilty of arson and the attempted murder of her son David, who was 14 at the time; he survived the fire and testified against her in court.[24] 16 years, 9 months and 15 days Nieves' defense team argued that Nieves was not "legally conscious" at the time of the crime. Nieves testified that she had a flashback of holding a lighter in her hand, but otherwise had no idea what happened on the night in question.[24]
Angelina Rodriguez Rodriguez was convicted of killing her husband with antifreeze-laced Gatorade. She allegedly made several unsuccessful attempts to kill him on previous occasions.[25] 13 years, 6 months and 9 days In 1993, Rodriguez's 13-month-old baby died after swallowing part of a pacifier. Rodriguez received a large settlement from the manufacturer as the result of a civil suit. Prosecutors argued at trial that she had killed her daughter for money.[25]
Mary Samuels Samuels was convicted of hiring a hitman to kill her 40-year-old husband, whom she was divorcing. She was also convicted in the death of the hitman, whom she had hired.[26] 22 years, 10 months and 5 days Samuels and her husband owned a Subway sandwich shop franchise, and he was insured heavily. She was nicknamed the “green widow” after she spent virtually all of that money in less than a year. A photograph introduced in evidence showed Samuels in bed covered with nothing but currency.[26]
Janeen Snyder Janeen Snyder and Michael Thornton were convicted of kidnapping, torturing, sexually abusing and killing 16-year-old Michelle Curran in 2001. 10 years, 10 months and 14 days Two other teenage girls testified against Snyder that she had lured them to a hotel where Thornton raped them. Snyder also confessed to killing a 14-year-old girl who had been missing for over five years.
Catherine Thompson Along with Phillip Sanders and his wife Carolyn, Catherine was convicted in the shooting death of Thompson's husband. 24 years, 1 month and 11 days Catherine Thompson and Phillip Conrad Sanders allegedly impersonated others to obtain a fraudulent $100,000 bank loan. The prosecutor alleged that Phillip Sanders posed as the dead Melvin Thompson and Catherine Thompson pretended to be Thompson's ex-wife in an attempt to borrow money.[27]
Valerie Dee Martin Along with her 16-year-old son, a 14-year-old boy, and 27-year-old ex-convict Christopher Kenney, Martin was convicted in the death of her boyfriend, who was knocked out and put into the trunk of his car, which was then set ablaze. 7 years, 3 months and 25 days
Michelle Lyn Michaud Michaud and her boyfriend James Anthony Daveggio were convicted of luring a 22-year-old woman into a specially rigged van where they sexually tortured and strangled her before dumping her body on a snowy embankment.[28] 14 years, 9 months and 26 days
Tanya Jaime Nelson Nelson was convicted in the stabbing deaths of fortune teller Ha "Jade" Smith, and her daughter Anita Vo.[29] 7 years, 2 months and 28 days Co-defendant Phillipe Zamora testified that Nelson and he killed Smith when Nelson's fortune did not come true. Smith allegedly told Nelson that her business would flourish if she relocated from Orange County to North Carolina. Nelson ended up her losing her home. Zamora testified that Nelson told him on the flight over that she felt cheated.[29]
Brooke Marie Rottiers Prosecutors alleged that Rottiers, who sometimes worked as a prostitute, lured two men to her motel room pretext of sex before she robbed, beat and suffocated them. The victims were found with panties and other cloth items stuffed in their mouths; their mouths and noses were covered and taped over. They were hog-tied with cords around their necks, connected to their hands (which were behind their backs) and to their ankles. 6 years, 8 months and 29 days
Cathy Lynn Sarinana Sarinana and her husband Raul were convicted in the deaths of her nephews Conrad (11) and Ricky Morales (13), who were in their custody. 8 years and 25 days
Manling Tsang Williams (曾玫琳 Zēng Méilín)[30] Williams was convicted of smothering her two young children with a pillow and slashing her husband to death with a sword in the family's Rowland Heights home in 2007. 5 years, 6 months and 3 days


Name Description of crime Time on death row Other
Margaret Allen Allen was convicted of torturing and killing her housekeeper, Wenda Wright. She allegedly thought Wright had stolen money from her purse. Prosecutors said the torture went on for hours before Wright died after being strangled with a belt. Allen's roommate, James Martin, and nephew, Quinton Allen, were both convicted for their part in helping her try to bury the body in a shallow grave.[31] 6 years, 2 months and 2 days Numerous neurologists experts testified at Allen's trial that she had significant brain damage to the frontal lobe, resulting in diminished impulse control, judgment, and mood regulation. She had sustained at least 10 traumatic brain injuries. Dr. Joseph Wu testified that her brain injuries would make it difficult for Allen to conform her conduct to cultural expectations and would likely overreact to slight provocation because of the frontal lobe damage.[32]
Tina Lasonya Brown Brown was convicted of beating 19-year-old Audreanna Zimmerman with a crowbar, shocking her with a stun gun and then setting her on fire in Brown's family home. Brown's daughter Britnee Miller, then 16, told the judge at her own trial that the plan was to fight Zimmerman, but it escalated out of control. The attack was said to be the result of a disagreement over a man.[33] After beating her and using the stun gun, the trio put Zimmerman in the trunk of a car, drove her to a wooded area, doused her with gasoline and set her on fire. Zimmerman was able to run to a nearby home and call 911 with severe burns across 60 percent of her body. She died two weeks later.[33] 4 years, 9 months and 22 days Brown acknowledged that she committed the crime and expressed remorse over the event. Mitigating factors presented at trial included a rough childhood in which she was sexually abused by her father, abandoned by her mother, and kicked out of the house by her grandmother for reporting the sexual abuse. Her father ran a gang related drug operation out of their home. She also had a long-term dependency on cocaine, which the defense asserted impacted her judgment.[34]
Ana Maria Cardona Cardona was convicted of murdering her three-year-old child Lazaro Figueroa. Figueroa was found to have been substantially abused and neglected over a long period of time before being killed with a baseball bat.[35] Figueroa's body was found dumped behind the hedge of a Miami Beach home. He went unidentified for some time and became known in the media as "baby lollipops" due to the graphic on a T-shirt he was wearing. 25 years, 3 months and 20 days The defense alleged that Cardona's partner, Olivia Gonzalez, was responsible. They appealed the conviction on the basis that the prosecution failed to disclose a number of inconsistent statements made by Gonzalez, who testified against Cardona at the trial. At trial, the defense was also precluded from questioning witnesses about an incident in which Gonzalez confessed to the crime. Gonzalez was judged to be deceptive on a number of questions during a polygraph, including questions regarding whether or not she struck him with a baseball bat in the two weeks prior to his death. When confronted with this information, she admitted hitting him with a bat on that day and stated that he could have died from the blow. The jury was not aware of this confession.[36]
Tiffany Cole Tiffany Cole, along with three men, was convicted of the kidnapping and first-degree murder of Florida couple Carol and Reggie Sumner. Before the Sumners moved to Florida, Cole was a neighbor in South Carolina. While visiting them in Florida, they group robbed the Sumners before driving them across the state line to Georgia, where they buried the Sumners alive.[37][38] 9 years, 4 months and 15 days


Name Description of crime Time on death row Other
Robin Lee Row[39] Row was convicted of the 1992 deaths of her husband and two children. Prosecutors say she set the family home on fire in order to collect insurance money.[39] 23 years, 7 months and 5 days Robin Row had two other children, one of whom died supposedly of sudden infant death syndrome. The other, a toddler son, died in California in a mysterious fire. Both deaths have been re-investigated because of the murders of her most recent two children. Despite claiming innocence on the internet recently, Robin Row confessed to killing her husband and two children in the fire during the sentence phase of her trial in Idaho. She tried to blame a man whom she was having an affair with as being a codefendant. He was ruled not responsible.


Name Description of crime Time on death row Other
Debra Brown Along with Alton Coleman, Brown was convicted of a number of crimes in the Midwest in 1984. Brown has been sentenced to death in both Ohio and Indiana. Coleman and Brown were charged or wanted for questioning in assaults on at least 20 people in 13 separate attacks, including seven murders. 31 years and 28 days Although all of the victims were African-American, authorities believe the crimes were not racially motivated and the motive behind the racial makeup was that the duo knew they would blend better in the black community.


Name Description of crime Time on death row Other
Virginia Susan Caudill Caudill was convicted of the 1998 death of a 73-year-old female. Prosecutors allege that Caudill and an accomplice entered the home of Lonetta White, beat her to death and then burglarized her home. They then placed her body in the trunk of her own vehicle and drove her to a rural area in Fayette County and set the car on fire. 17 years, 3 months and 27 days The motive for the burglary was said to be money to buy cocaine.


Name Description of crime Time on death row Other
Antoinette Frank Antoinette Frank was a New Orleans police officer when she and Rogers LaCaze killed Officer Ronald Williams and siblings Ha and Cuong Vu, owners of the Kim Anh restaurant, during a 1995 robbery. 21 years, 9 months and 1 day


Name Description of crime Time on death row Other
Lisa Jo Chamberlin Chamberlin, along with Roger Lee Gillett, was convicted in the March 2004 deaths of Linda Heintzelman and Heintzelman's boyfriend, Vernon Hulett. Their bodies were found inside a freezer at an abandoned farm 10 years, 11 months and 16 days

North Carolina[edit]

Name Description of crime Time on death row Other
Blanche Taylor Moore Blanche Taylor Moore was convicted of killing her boyfriend by slipping arsenic into his food. Moore is suspected of killing three other people and nearly killing another in the same manner.[40] 26 years, 6 months and 3 days Moore appealed her sentence citing the Racial Justice Act, which allows death-row inmates to use statistics and other evidence to prove racial bias played a significant role in them getting a death sentence.[41]
Carlette Parker Parker was a home health-care worker taking care of 88-year-old Alice Covington. She allegedly withdrew approximately $44,000 from Covington's account. When Covington confronted her, Parker is alleged to have killed her by drowning her in a bathtub. The autopsy revealed bruising around Covington's ankles and legs, pepper spray on her clothing, and possible burns from a stun gun. At the time of her arrest, Parker had a stun gun and pepper spray in her possession.[42] 18 years, 3 months and 20 days[citation needed]


Name Description of crime Time on death row Other
Donna Roberts Roberts was convicted in the 2001 death of her ex-husband, Robert Fingerhut. Prosecutors alleged that she solicited her lover, Nate Jackson, to commit the crime.[43] 14 years and 1 month Roberts has been sentenced to death three times. The first two sentencings were being overturned due to errors.[44]


Name Description of crime Time on death row Other
Brenda E. Andrew Brenda and her boyfriend Jim Pavatt were convicted of the shooting death of Andrew's husband Rob. 12 years, 9 months and 29 days Shortly before the murder, Rob was nearly killed when the brake lines on his car were cut. He filed a police report claiming that his wife and Pavatt were conspiring to kill him for the insurance money. Pavatt was their life insurance agent. No action was taken by police at that time.[45]


Name Description of crime Time on death row Other
Angela Darlene McAnulty McAnulty pleaded guilty to aggravated murder the day her trial was set to begin for torturing, beating and starving her 15-year-old daughter Jeanette Maples to death in 2009. 6 years, 4 months and 27 days Following her sentencing, McAnulty told the jury: "I am very sorry for hurting my daughter in a very bad way. I want you to know I did wrong, and I am at peace with your decision."[46]


Name Description of crime Time on death row Other
Michelle Sue Tharp Convicted in the starvation death of her 7-year-old daughter, Tausha. 16 years, 8 months and 7 days Tausha was born prematurely and had numerous ailments, including genetic abnormalities, problems with her breathing, blood, glands, nervous system and gastrointestinal tract. She weighed 2 pounds, 5 ounces at birth. At the time of death, she weighed less than 12 pounds. An autopsy revealed that she had not eaten for days before her death.[47]
Shonda Dee Walter Walter was convicted of the 2003 hatchet murder of her 83-year-old neighbor, James Sementelli. Sementelli sustained more than 60 wounds, 18 fractures and 45 bruises to various parts of his body. Prosecutors allege that Walter killed Sementelli so she could steal and sell his car as well as gain entry into the Bloods street gang.[48] 12 years, 3 months and 2 days


Name Description of crime Time on death row Other
Christa Pike In 1995, 18-year-old Christa Pike allegedly lured coworker, 19-year-old Colleen Slemmer, to an isolated section of the University of Tennessee agricultural campus out, spurred on by the belief that Slemmer was trying to steal her boyfriend, Tadaryl Shipp. Pike bashed her head with a chunk of asphalt and kept a piece of the skull as a souvenir. 21 years, 3 months and 21 days Dr. Jonathan Henry Pincus, an expert in neurology, testified that Pike's brain damage made killing inevitable. Pincus opined that every killer he has ever examined shares three features - brain damage, a history of abuse and mental illness. Pike had all three factors. He testified that Pike likely suffers from bipolar disorder, her frontal lobe was distinctly abnormal, she had brain damage that likely resulted from pre-natal alcohol exposure, and a long history of physical and sexual abuse.[49]


Name Description of crime Time on death row Other
Kimberly Cargill Cargill was convicted of the 2010 murder of her children's babysitter, Cherry Walker. Prosecutors say Walker was scheduled to testify in Cargill's child custody hearing. 5 years, 1 month and 14 days Many family members testified against Cargill. Three of Cargill's four sons testified that Cargill would frequently choke, kick and hit them and that she changed the locks on their bedroom doors so she could lock them inside. Cargill's ex-husbands also took the stand, one of whom testified that Cargill set his apartment on fire.[50]
Linda Carty Carty was convicted for the abduction and murder of 25-year-old Joana Rodriguez, in order to steal her newborn son. Prosecutors alleged that Carty orchestrated the crime, which was committed by three masked men who abducted Rodriguez and her son. Rodriguez was later found dead in the trunk of a car. Her 3-day-old son was rescued from a car parked nearby. The other three men were arrested, but only Carty was prosecuted for capital murder. 15 years, 4 months and 14 days Carty claims she was framed by drug dealers in response to her work as an informant and has appealed her conviction. Her appeals have been unsuccessful and the appeal procedure has been exhausted.[51] Barring the granting of clemency, she stands to become the first female British national to be executed since Ruth Ellis in 1955, and the first British black woman executed in more than a century. In 2014, key witnesses against her, including a DEA agent for whom she worked as an informant, recanted and claimed they were coerced into testifying against her by the prosecutor. Retired DEA Special Agent Charles Mathis accused prosecutor Connie Spence with threatening to allege in court that he had had an affair with Carty. Mathis denies the affair, but was concerned the effect it would have on his career. Two of Carty's co-defendants accuse prosecutors of threatening them with the death sentence and of feeding them stories implicating Carty. Her co-defendant, Chris Robinson, testified against her at her trial, but has since recanted, claiming that prosecutors coerced him to testify that he saw Carty put a trash bag over Rodriguez's head when Rodriguez was in the trunk, claiming the story is untrue. "When we were rehearsing I would say the story back to them they would stop me and add something in or take it out then make me keep going. They would stop me by saying 'Wait, wait, this is what happened,' " he said in his affidavit. Capital murder charges were dropped against Robinson in exchange for his testimony. Another co-defendant, Gerald Anderson, who was not called to testify, alleged that prosecutors attempted to get him to testify falsely against Carty as well.[52]
Brittany Holberg Brittany Holberg was convicted of the November 13, 1996, robbery and murder of 80-year-old A.B. Towery Sr. in his southwest Amarillo home.[53] 19 years, 3 months and 24 days Holberg was working as a prostitute and was hired by Towery. During the trial, defense attorney Catherine Brown Dodson argued that Towery was wrongly portrayed as an innocent elderly man, and that Holberg acted in self-defense when Towery attacked her. Dodson said A.B. Towery became angry and violent when he found a crack pipe on Holberg. She told the jury that Towery struck Holberg twice in the head with a metal pan while her back was turned, and then threatened her with a knife. Holberg reacted by stabbing him with her own knife, and the fight escalated until Holberg put the lamp post in his mouth to attempt to end the struggle. Holberg believed she would have little legal recourse because of her status as a drug-abusing prostitute and fled to Tennessee. Testimony showed that A.B. Towery, the victim, also had a problem with drugs. Since her conviction, Holberg has spoken out about the death penalty, has talked of abuse in the Texas Criminal Justice system, and has called for better conditions for prisoners.
Melissa Elizabeth Lucio Lucio was convicted in the murder of her 2-year-old daughter, one of her nine children. The woman told authorities the child had fallen down the stairs, but physicians in the ER found she had bruises covering her body, bite marks on her back, an arm that had been broken weeks earlier, and was missing hair that had been pulled by the roots from her head. 8 years, 11 months and 9 days
Darlie Routier Routier was convicted in the 1996 stabbing of her two young sons. Routier herself sustained a number of wounds. She maintains the attack was by an intruder. The prosecutor maintains Routier's wounds were self-inflicted and she was the perpetrator. Routier's infant son and her husband were asleep upstairs and were unharmed. 20 years, 5 months and 17 days Routier's conviction has come into question in recent years. She was convicted largely on the basis of the testimony of bloodstain analyst Tom Bevel, who has played a role in several recently discovered wrongful convictions.[54] Other crime scene experts have publicly criticized the case against Routier and one juror has publicly stated that he now believes she is innocent.[55] Routier is collecting funds to perform new DNA testing on evidence at the crime scene[56] and wrongful conviction advocacy group Investigating Innocence has taken her case. David Camm, who himself was wrongfully convicted on the basis of Bevel's testimony, is investigating her case.[57][58]
Erica Yvonne Sheppard Along with James Dickerson, Sheppard was convicted of killing Marilyn Meagher as part of a robbery. 22 years, 4 months and 18 days

Recent executions[edit]

Name Description of crime Time on death row Reason for removal Other
Lisa Coleman Along with her domestic partner, Marcella Williams, Coleman was convicted in the starvation death of Williams' 9-year-old son, Davontae Williams, who weighed 35 pounds. Previously, Davontae had been removed from Marcella's custody because of alleged abuse by Coleman. The child was returned to her custody on the condition that he not be around Coleman.[59] 8 years, 2 months and 21 days Executed September 17, 2014 Coleman presented many mitigating factors at her trial. Coleman was born to her mother, Patricia, at the age of 13 after Patricia was molested by her stepfather. Coleman has a long history of abuse, including being stabbed at the age of 11. She was physically and sexually abused until she was put into foster care. She began using drugs and alcohol in her early teens and gave birth to her own child at 16. She also suffered from bipolar disorder.[59]
Kelly Renee Gissendaner Murder of her husband 17 years Executed on September 30, 2015

Removed from death row[edit]

This is not a complete list

Name Description of crime Time on death row Reason for removal Other
Emilia Carr Murder of Heather Strong 6 years Death sentence was vacated re-sentenced to life without parole on May 19th, 2017 [60]
Brandy Holmes Murder of a pastor during a robbery 10 years Sentence commuted re-sentenced to life without parole August 2016
Michelle Byrom Murder for hire of her husband in 1999 14 years Conviction overturned March 2013 Byrom was convicted of murder for hire in the death of her husband, who she alleges was abusive. At trial, prosecutors alleged that she organized a hit on her husband in 1999 while Michelle was in the hospital with pneumonia. Her son has reportedly told a number of people, including a court-appointed psychologist that he committed the crime alone after years of physical and verbal abuse by his father. He had testified against his mother at trial saying the killer was one of his friends, whom he said his mother had hired for $15,000.[61] In June 2015, Byrom, while maintaining her innocence, pleaded no contest to conspiring to kill her husband, and was released.[62]
Debra Milke Murder of her son Christopher Conan Milke in 1990 23 years Conviction overturned March 2013, Exonerated March 2015 Milke's son Christopher was at the mall with her roommate, Jim Stylers when he was reported missing. The next day Phoenix police arrested Roger Scott, a long-time friend of Styers. Scott led police to the body and told them that Styers had committed the murder at the behest of Milke, but refused to testify. Milke was questioned by detective Armando Saldate, who claimed that Milke confessed. The alleged confession was not recorded and was not witnessed by anyone else. Milke's conviction was overturned after it was uncovered that the prosecution failed to turn over Saldate's personnel file. The file included multiple instances of misconduct, including eight cases where confessions, indictments or convictions were thrown out because Saldate lied under oath.[63]
Cathy Lynn Henderson Murder of 3-month-old baby in 1994 20 years Conviction overturned December 2014. After looking at new scientific findings from defense attorneys, the medical examiner at the time of the original trial said he was uncertain whether the injuries were the result of an accidental or intentional act. Henderson waived second trial and pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, and was sentenced to 25 years and time served, meaning she could have been released in less than four years. Died August 2015.[64]

Cases where the death penalty was not imposed[edit]

This is a list of women for whom a death sentence was sought by the prosecution, but not imposed. This is not an exhaustive list.

Date of crime Name Location Description of crime Sentence Other
June 16, 2008 Casey Anthony Orlando, Florida Murder of her daughter, Caylee Anthony Cleared of all charges Caylee's death was not reported until 30 days after, when Casey told police she had been kidnapped. She was charged with capital murder. Her defense team argued that the death was an accidental drowning that had been covered up by the child's grandfather, George. She was acquitted.
June 8, 2008 Jodi Arias Mesa, Arizona Murder of ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander Natural Life Prosecutors alleged premediated murder based on a gas can, which Arias claimed to have returned to Walmart, being used to conceal Arias' visit to Mesa. The defense argued Arias kept receipts.[65][66]
January 14, 2008 Marissa DeVault Gilbert, Arizona Murder of husband, Dale Harrell Natural Life Prosecutors alleged that DeVault killed Harrell with the intention of collecting on a total of $1,250,000 from life insurance policies to repay a debt. The defense claimed DeVault acted in self-defense and had been abused both as a child and by others, including Harrrell.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Encyclopedia of prisons and Correctional facilities" (PDF). Sage Reference. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "Death Penalty Fact Sheet" (PDF). Death Penalty Information Center. June 19, 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "Kansas Town Stunned By Kidnap-Murder Case". 2004-12-19. Archived from the original on 2007-09-22. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  4. ^ "United States v. Lisa M. Montgomery". April 7, 2011. 
  5. ^ "BBC NEWS - Americas - US woman guilty of 'womb theft'". 
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