WASHINGTON, February 5, 2014 —A rare execution of a woman is scheduled to take place tonight in Texas, barring an unexpected last minute stay.
Suzanne Basso, a 59 year old New Yorker is scheduled to die for the 1998 homicide of Louis “Buddy” Musso.
Prosecutors said Basso lured the mentally impaired man to Texas with promises of marriage. After his death, Basso made herself the beneficiary of Musso’s insurance policies and took over his Social Security benefits.
If the execution goes forward, Suzanne Basso will be only the 14th woman executed in the United States since the Supreme Court reinstated the use of capital punishment in 1976. During the same period of time, 1,400 men have been put to death.
The state of Texas has executed the largest number of prisoners, totaling over 500 men and four women.
Basso’s attorney’s final appeal on Tuesday morning was denied, shutting down all avenues except the United States Supreme Court.
Basso’s attorney, Winston Cochran Jr., has filed appeals for his client, claiming that she is not mentally competent to be put to death by the state. In court she has used speech similar to that of a young child.
Basso has a history of fabricating stories such as tales of being a triplet and having a romantic relationship with Nelson Rockefeller.
The history of lies has hurt Basso’s appeal attempts with her lawyer asking the court to stay the execution in part due to a degenerative disease that has left her paralyzed and in a wheelchair. Basso claiming instead that the paralysis was due to a jail beating years ago.
At a competency hearing, Basso testified from a hospital bed that had been wheeled into the courtroom and spoke of a snake that had been smuggled into the jail in an attempt to kill her.
Basso became a suspect after the severely beaten body of Louis Musso was discovered and she called police to report him missing.
Five others, including Basso’s son, were convicted for Musso’s death but prosecutors only sought the death penalty for Basso as the ringleader.
Court documents detailed extensive abuse Musso endured days before his body was found in a ditch by a passerby.
He had been bathed in a solution of bleach and pine cleaner and scrubbed with a wire brush. An autopsy showed he had at least 17 cuts to his head, 28 cuts and cigarette burns on his back, bruises all over his body, a skull fracture, a fractured bone in his neck, 14 broken ribs and two dislocated vertebrae.
There are eight other woman on death row in the state of Texas.
This report was compiled with information from the Associated Press and court documents.