Kimberly Cargill loses U.S. Supreme Court appeal in the 2010 slaying of Cherry Walker in Whitehouse

Published on Monday, 30 October 2017 15:22 - Written by Staff and Wire Reports

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to review the appeal of Kimberly Cargill, a Whitehouse woman on death row for the 2010 slaying of her developmentally disabled baby sitter.

Cargill, 50, was convicted in 2012 in Smith County. The court did not comment on its reasons for refusing the appeal, and Cargill does not have a set execution date.

Cargill was convicted of causing the asphyxiation of 39-year-old Cherry Walker in June 2010. Court records show her lawyers have until late April 2018 to file a more extensive appeal in a federal district court and that state attorneys will have three months to respond to that appeal.

At her trial, prosecutors said Cargill was facing a child abuse investigation and that she had already lost custody of one of her two children. They argued she killed Walker to keep her from testifying at a custody hearing. Walker's body, found on the side of a road in Smith County, had been doused with lighter fluid and set on fire. An autopsy determined she was asphyxiated.

Cargill testified that Walker had suffered a seizure and stopped breathing while she was driving Walker home, and that she panicked and didn't seek medical help. She said she set Walker's body on fire to eliminate any of her own DNA that may have been on the victim.

The victim's stepmother told Cargill that her stepdaughter had loved her after a death sentence was handed down by a Smith County jury in 2012. "Ms. Cargill, Cherry loved you and she loved (your son)," Rueon Walker said during the victim impact statement. "She didn't deserve the horrible thing you did. You took her away from people that loved her.

"When I saw my baby in the morgue, her eyebrows singed. ... You took away my memories of her," Mrs. Walker told Cargill. "I couldn't give her a beautiful pink dress. All I had was a black body bag. ... We don't hate you. We only have love, pity and compassion for you. Jesus loves you, and he will forgive you."

Following the 2012 trial, then-Prosecutor April Sikes said in her opinion, Ms. Walker left a legacy of protection for Cargill's children.

"They are safe, now," she said then.

Cargill is one of six women on death row in Texas, which is the most active capital-punishment state in the U.S. and has executed six prisoners so far this year.