A British grandmother on death row in Texas for murdering her neighbour in a bid to steal her baby has insisted she had ‘nothing to do with this crime’ in a new ITV documentary, presented by Susanna Reid.
Linda Carty, 63, has been awaiting execution for 20 years after being convicted of killing young mother Joana Rodriguez and plotting to steal the victim’s newborn son, Ray, with three men.
Neighbour Joana, aged 25, was kidnapped from her Houston apartment with her four-day-old son, suffocated to death and found in the boot of Carty’s car in 2001.
Carty, a native of St. Kitts and Nevis – which was a British territory when she was born, appears on tonight’s British Grandma On Death Row with Susanna Reid, which airs on ITV at 9pm.
When asked by the host, ‘if you weren’t the one responsible, how did [it] happen?’, a tearful Carty replies: ‘I don’t know for sure because I wasn’t there.
‘But I can truthfully say, and I can truthfully look you in the eye, and tell you that I had nothing to do with this crime.’
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Linda Carty (pictured), 63, has been awaiting execution for 20 years after being convicted of killing young mother Joana Rodriguez and plotting to steal the victim’s newborn son, Ray, with three men
Carty (pictured left), a native of St. Kitts and Nevis – which was a British territory when she was born, appears on tonight’s British Grandma On Death Row with Susanna Reid (pictured right), which airs on ITV at 9pm
Neighbour Joana (pictured), aged 25, was kidnapped from her Houston apartment with her four-day-old son, suffocated to death and found in the boot of Carty’s car in 2001
‘The court heard Linda orchestrated the kidnap of her pregnant neighbour, Joana Rodriguez, equipped with scrubs and scissors, as she intended to cut the baby out.
‘Linda didn’t know that Joana had already had her baby four days earlier. Joana and her tiny baby boy were kidnapped and Joana was suffocated to death,’ explains Susanna in the programme.
The presenter travels to Texas to meet Carty, who continues to plead her innocence and has never moved from her stance of ‘not guilty’, despite the substantial evidence against her.
Prosecutors claim Carty was so desperate for a baby that she sought to kidnap Joana and keep baby Ray for herself.
However, the documentary claims that there are many questions over the validity of the witnesses who testified against Carty at her trial, as their stories have changed since her conviction.
But despite several applications for appeal Carty remains behind bars awaiting the death penalty.
With access to police custody footage of Carty and one of the key witnesses, Susanna investigates the harrowing murder case.
When asked by the host, ‘if you weren’t the one responsible, how did [it] happen?’, a tearful Carty (pictured before she was jailed) replies: ‘I don’t know for sure because I wasn’t there’
She speaks to Carty’s daughter, Jovelle Joubert, who candidly talks of the struggles of awaiting her mother’s execution on death row and admits she would not attend the execution of her mother.
Lynn Hardaway, former Harris County Assistant District Attorney, recalls Carty’s conviction and says: ‘I don’t have any doubt she is guilty of this crime; all the evidence was consistent and had her as the ringleader and orchestrator of the whole offence.’
Barrister Hugh Southey QC has campaigned for Carty’s release for the last ten years and says the convicted grandmother did not have sufficient, high-quality representation at the murder trial.
Prosecutors said Carty, who had been living in Houston for about 20 years by the time of her trial, recruited three men to abduct Joana and her newborn son, Ray Cabrera, in the hopes of saving her relationship with her common-law husband by passing off the child as her own. She had previously suffered several miscarriages.
Carty, a former primary school teacher, was convicted under the Texas ‘law of parties’ which dictated that a person is criminally liable if one ‘solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid the other person to commit the offence’.
Carty (pictured) has maintained her innocence arguing that she was convicted largely on the word of her co-accused
She has maintained her innocence arguing that she was convicted largely on the word of her co-accused.
Joana and Ray were abducted from their Houston apartment on May 16, 2001.
The newborn was found unharmed in a vehicle that same day, but his mother was found dead with duct tape over her mouth and a plastic bag around her head in a car Ms Carty was leasing.
Gerald Anderson, Chris Robinson and Carlos Williams were charged as Carty’s accomplices and received long prison terms. Carty was sentenced to death.
Carty spoke to Sky News from behind bars in Huntsville Prison, Texas, in 2012 where she claimed she was: ‘110 percent innocent’.
She maintained that she was framed for the crime in the interview saying she felt for the victim’s family.
She said: ‘She’s somebody’s child too and she’s somebody’s daughter. So for me it’s not only a healing process for me but to show the families that the person you have been hating all these years and that you thought because the state of Texas told you this is who did it, did not commit this crime.’
She does not yet have an execution date. The last British woman to be executed was Ruth Ellis in 1955. She was hanged for shooting her lover outside a pub in North London.