HUNTSVILLE, Texas—In what some are hailing as the most gender-positive action taken by the Lone Star State in recent memory, Texas executed Suzanne Basso Wednesday for the murder of Louis Musso. Basso is just the 14th woman to be executed in the United States since 1976.
“It’s been a long time coming, but it looks like the twentieth century may finally have arrived in Texas,” noted Salon blogger Karen Powell, calling the execution “bold” and “transgressive.” “The execution of a woman for a violent attack on a mentally-ill man has all the hallmarks of radical paradigm shift in our gender-normative justice system.”
In addition, Powell offered praise for the decision to correct a glaring historical racial disparity, noting that the last two women executed in Texas were black. Powell also thanked Basso for “prov[ing] to the degenerate patriarchs that still run this corrupt country that a woman can take a lethal dose of Pentobarbital just as well as any man.”
Basso, 59 and a one-time seamstress from New York, led a group of five accomplices in brutally beating and kicking Louis “Buddy” Musso, 59, to death in August 1998. Basso had lured Musso, who was mentally handicapped, to Texas from New Jersey with the promise of marriage.
“Texas has taken a groundbreaking step for gender equality,” said Amanda Carpenter, director of Austin NOW. “But we still have a long way to go before we can claim victory. Women still only represent 0.97% of the 1,341 executions performed in the United States since the death penalty was reinstituted in 1976. Hopefully, other states will follow Texas’ example and start executing women at a rate comparable to men.”
“Some people have accused [Texas] of being bigoted or unjust in the way we run things down here,” noted James Jones, warden of the Huntsville Unit which that housed Basso. “I think we’ve shown today that nothing could be further from the truth. White, black, male, female, innocent, guilty—Texas’ll be happy to put anybody to death.”.