Claire Phillips is a British artist who has traveled throughout the United States on a tour of Death Row facilities. Although she’s not allowed to bring any of her tools of the trade with her – no sketchbooks, no brushes, no palette knives or pens – she spends sufficient time with her chosen subjects to replicate their images from memory. And Claire Phillips does a very good job.
In a recent gallery viewing, her portraits included:
Krishna Maharaj, a British subject who was convicted of murder here in Florida and originally sentenced to death. Luckily, efforts were successful to move Mr. Maharaj off Death Row, and his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Unfortunately, additional work was not successful in lessening that punishment and Mr. Maharaj can expect to spend the rest of his days in a Florida prison.
Linda Carty is an Englishwoman (she hails from the British Virgin Islands) who faces execution in Texas. With the current state of review (she has exhausted her state remedies and is pursuing a federal appeal), Ms. Carty may not be able to escape capital punishment.
According to the official summary from the Texas site, “[o]n 05/16/2001 Carty and three co-defendants invaded the home of a 25 year old female. The victim and her three day old baby were kidnapped and two other victims were beaten, duct taped, and left in the residence. The 25 year old female was hog-tied with duct tape, a bag was taped over her head, and she was placed in the trunk of a car. This victim died from suffocation.”
Apparently, Linda Carty and her codefendants were accused of killing a mother in order to keep her newborn baby. The co-defendants took plea deals, leaving Linda Carty to face trial alone for the crimes. Without any forensic evidence tying her to the crime, and no eyewitness testimony, Carty was nevertheless found guilty and sentenced to death.
Earlier this year, Houston law firm Baker & Botts filed a federal appeal asking for a new trial for Linda Carty based, in part, upon ineffective assistance of counsel. The British Government filed its own amicus in her case with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans last month. That appeal is pending.