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Texas executes 500th inmate, Kimberly McCarthy

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Kimberly McCarthy, who was sentenced to death in Texas for the 1997 killing of a neighbor during a robbery, is seen in this undated picture provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. / AP PHOTO/TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE

(CNN) — Kimberly McCarthy on Wednesday evening became the 500th prisoner executed in Texas since 1976, when the death penalty was reinstated in the state, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

The former occupational therapist was convicted of murdering her 71-year-old neighbor in 1997.

Authorities said McCarthy entered the retired professor’s home with the intent to rob her. McCarthy repeatedly stabbed her and then took her credit cards and vehicle.

Texas has led the nation in the number of executions since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. But the number of states carrying out capital punishment continues to drop.

Last year, Texas executed more people than it sentenced to death for the eighth straight year.

Four states — Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Arizona — accounted for three-fourths of all U.S. executions in 2012.

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