A woman convicted of torturing and killing a mentally impaired man she lured to Texas with the promise of marriage is to be executed today, reports the Associated Press. If Suzanne Basso, 59, is lethally injected, the New York native would be only the 14th woman executed in the U.S. since the Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976. Almost 1,400 men have been put to death. Texas, the busiest death-penalty state, has executed four women and 505 men.
Basso was sentenced for the 1998 slaying of Louis “Buddy” Musso, 59, whose battered and lacerated body, washed with bleach and scoured with a wire brush, was found in a ditch outside Houston. Prosecutors said Basso made herself the beneficiary of Musso’s insurance policies and took his Social Security benefits after luring him from New Jersey. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit refused yesteday to halt the execution. A state judge ruled Basso had a history of fabricating stories about herself, seeking attention and manipulating psychological tests. Her attorney, Winston Cochran, asked the appeals court to overturn the lower court’s finding that Basso was mentally competent to face execution. He argued that Basso suffered from delusions and that the state law governing competency was unconstitutionally flawed.