April 14, 2007
Women on Death Row
Daphne Wright cries as she is taken back to jail after being found guilty.
By Shannon Stevens, KSFY News
(Watch the video)
If Daphne Wright is sentenced to death, she will be the first woman to sit
on death row in the state of South Dakota. If she's actually executed, she
would be the first woman to be put to death in a region stretching from
Wisconsin to Oregon, North Dakota to Kansas.
Women make up only 2 percent of the people sentenced to death between 1973
and 2006 and they account for only 1.1 percent of people actually executed.
If Daphne Wright is sentenced to death, those who study the death penalty
say it will be historic.
There are currently 51 women on death row across the country. 15 of them are
in California and ten are in Texas, but everything is relative, those states
have hundreds of men sentenced to death as well. South Dakota only has 4
people currently sitting on death row.
Thursday afternoon KSFY spoke with a Professor of Law from Ohio Northern
University. He's spent the past 20 to 25 years researching women and the
death penalty. He says it's pretty hard to figure out why women aren't
sentenced or executed as often as men for the same types of crimes.
"Most of the people I've talked to around the country over the last 20 some
years sort of indicate a general reluctance to take a woman's life and it
would suggest it fits with most of our cultural backgrounds. We don't want
to put women in combat situations; don't want to risk women's lives," says
The most recent execution of a woman happened back in September of 2005 in
And a woman in Texas is also the next scheduled execution, which is supposed
to happen on April 18th of this year.
Just over half of the 51 women on death row killed their husbands and
boyfriends, children or both.
Iowa has never executed a woman.
And, the last time a woman was put to death in Minnesota was back in 1860.
Source : KSFY News