On Wednesday, Texas executed its 500th person: Kimberly McCarthy. McCarthy was a former nurse and cocaine addict who stabbed her neighbor to death before robbing her. And while her story is striking, the real shock is that there were 499 people executed before her since the United States resumed the death penalty in 1976, when states began to meet the criteria laid down by the Supreme Court in Furman v. Georgia. In that time, Texas has put more prisoners to death than the next six states combined.
So what are those next six states? How about the next nine? See below.
The surprise that Texas was the No. 1 state was spoiled above, but it's here to make it official. Texas has executed 500 people since the death penalty was resumed in the state in 1982.
Coming in well below Texas, Virginia has executed 110 people since 1976. The state's use of the death penalty has declined sharply in recent years, with only one person executed this year and none executed in 2012 — a huge drop from 1995's high of 57.
Since 1976, Oklahoma has executed 105 people. While that is significantly less than 500, this is actually the highest rate per capita in the United States.
Florida comes in fourth with 77 people executed since 1976. It was the first state to reintroduce the death penalty after the Supreme Court's Furman ruling, and in 1979 became the first state to carry out a post-Furman execution.
With 68, Missouri comes in fifth. The state is currently considering — though it's not made huge news or received much support — abolishing the death penalty. Senate Bill 47, sponsored by Gina Walsh, would end the death penalty and change the punishment of any person sentenced to death before August 28, 2013 to life without parole.
Alabama comes in fifth with 55 executions since 1976. While the state has a comparatively low number of actual executions, their death sentencing rate is actually six times higher than the state of Texas. There are currently 200 people sentenced to death in Alabama.
Coming in slightly behind Alabama with 53, Georgia comes in seventh. In 2011, the high profile execution of Troy Davis — a prisoner whose guilt was widely questioned — reignited a nationwide debate over the death penalty. Despite that debate, Georgia is still going strong.
Ohio makes the list at No. 8 with 51 executions. More than 150 people are currently sentenced to death in the state, but that number may soon change as lawmakers are considering removing some crimes from the eligibility list for the death penalty.
Since 1976, our ninth place state has executed 43 people. North Carolina actually hasn't executed anyone for almost 7 years because of challenges to the state's lethal injection protocol. That could very soon change, because the Senate in North Carolina has recently passed a bill reinstating the death penalty.
In 10th is South Carolina, who has executed 43 people just like its northerly neighbor. There has only been one execution since current governor Nikki Haley took office, but the state shows no sign of repealing the practice.