“I’m sorry if I sound desperate”
Linda Carty was convicted in 2002 for killing a woman in the USA as part of a plot to kidnap the victim’s baby, after a trial campaigners say was “catastrophically flawed”. She is now on death row in Texas, the only British woman awaiting execution in George Bush’s home state. She has always denied the charges.
The Fifth Circuit court in New Orleans conceded that Carty received an inadequate defence at her murder trial in 2002 but refused to reverse the jury’s decision.
In 2009 she sent out an appeal for help via a plinth in Trafalgar Square. She became one of a string of people to “appear” on the London monument as part of the long-running Antony Gormley One & Other Exhibition.
A life-size cardboard cut-out of Linda stood on the platform and a recorded message from Carty was also be played calling on the British public and Government to intervene to help save her from the lethal injection.
In the message, Linda said: “I’m sorry if I sound like a desperate woman. I am desperate, because the British people may be my last hope. If they ask for my life to be spared, maybe Texas will listen.”
Fair Trials International has given the following account of the sequence of events that led to her arrest, prosecution and sentence:
Linda Carty is a 50 year old British citizen born on the Caribbean island of St Kitts, where she worked as a primary school teacher and volunteered for a social work group. In 1982, Linda and her family immigrated to the US. There she furthered her studies and later became a pharmaceutical technician.
During the 1980s, while still a student, Linda was recruited as an undercover informant by the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Her work for the DEA involved befriending suspected drug traffickers, usually of Caribbean origin, and passing information to her handler.
In May 2001, three men broke into the house of Linda’s neighbour, 25 year old Joana Rodriguez. After demanding drugs and money they assaulted her partner, before kidnapping Joana and her four day old baby. The baby was later found unharmed in a car but Joana’s body was discovered in the boot of another car, bound and suffocated.
After the three men who perpetrated the crime were arrested by police, they claimed Linda masterminded the murder. The prosecution alleged that Linda, unable to fall pregnant, had plotted to steal her pregnant neighbour’s baby by cutting it from her before it was born, in order to pass it off as her own and save her relationship with her husband.
This explanation does not stand up; as evidence shows that the baby had been born four days prior to the events taking place. Moreover, the baby was of a different race to Linda, so her husband would never have believed that it was hers.
The three men escaped the death penalty themselves by declaring that Linda had orchestrated the entire event.
Linda believes local drug dealers discovered she was a DEA informant and were behind her being implicated in the murder.