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Suzanne Basso Executed For Torture Killing Of Louis 'Buddy Musso

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) - A woman convicted of torturing and killing a mentally impaired man she lured to Texas with the promise of marriage was put to death Wednesday evening in a rare execution of a female prisoner.

The lethal injection of Suzanne Basso, 59, made the New York native only the 14th woman executed in the U.S. since the Supreme Court in 1976 allowed capital punishment to resume. Almost 1,400 men have been put to death during that time.

Before being put to death, Basso told a warden who stood near her, "No sir," when asked to make a final statement. She appeared to be holding back tears, then smiled at two friends watching through a window. She mouthed a brief word to them and nodded.

As the lethal dose of pentobarbital took effect, Basso, dressed in a white prison uniform, began to snore. Her deep snoring became less audible and eventually stopped.

She was pronounced dead at 6:26 p.m. CST, 11 minutes after the drug was administered.

Basso was sentenced to die for the 1998 slaying of 59-year-old Louis "Buddy" Musso, whose battered and lacerated body, washed with bleach and scoured with a wire brush, was found in a ditch outside Houston. Prosecutors said Basso had made herself the beneficiary of Musso's insurance policies and took over his Social Security benefits after luring him from New Jersey.

The execution, the second this year in Texas, came about an hour after the Supreme Court rejected a last-day appeal from Basso's attorney who argued she was not mentally competent.

Lower federal courts and state courts also refused to halt the punishment, upholding the findings of a state judge last month that Basso had a history of fabricating stories about herself, seeking attention and manipulating psychological tests.

Leading up to her trial, Basso's court appearances were marked by claims of blindness and paralysis, and speech mimicking a little girl.

"It was challenging, but I saw her for who she was," said Colleen Barnett, the former Harris County assistant district attorney who prosecuted Basso. "I was determined I was not going to let her get away with it."

Basso's attorney, Winston Cochran Jr., argued she suffered from delusions and that the state law governing competency was unconstitutionally flawed.

Her lawyer said a degenerative disease left her paralyzed, but Basso, who used a wheelchair, blamed her paralysis on a jail beating years ago. At a competency hearing two months ago, she testified from a hospital bed wheeled into a Houston courtroom and talked about a snake smuggled into a prison hospital in an attempt to kill her.

But she acknowledged lying about her background, including that she was a triplet, worked in the New York governor's office and had a relationship with Nelson Rockefeller.

She originally was from the Albany and Schenectady areas of New York.

Prosecutors said Musso was living in New Jersey when he met either Basso or her son at a church carnival, then moved to Jacinto City, east of Houston, with an offer of marriage. Evidence showed Basso was already married but took over Musso's benefits and insurance.

An autopsy showed Musso had several broken bones, including a skull fracture and 14 broken ribs. His back was covered with cigarette burns, and bruises were found all over his body.

Basso became a suspect after reporting Musso missing following the discovery of his body. Five others also were convicted, including Basso's son, but prosecutors only sought the death penalty for Basso.

"Suzanne ran the show for sure. ... She was the one in charge. She directed them. She wanted the money," Barnett said. "She's a heinous killer."

Among witnesses testifying at Basso's punishment trial was her daughter, who told of emotional, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her mother.

About 60 women are on death row in the U.S., making up about 2 percent of the 3,100 condemned inmates. Texas, the nation's busiest death-penalty state, now has executed five women and 505 men.

The last woman executed in Texas before Basso was Kimberly McCarthy, who was put to death last June for killing her neighbor near Dallas and cutting off the 71-year-old victim's finger to steal her wedding ring.

Woman Executed In Texas For 1998 Killing Of Mentally Impaired Man

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MIKEY'S SCREEN February 07 2014 at 2:18 AM

Now I think my tax dollars were finally used correctly!

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ladynini6 February 06 2014 at 8:21 PM

Juat an observation , there are men in our prisons awaiting execution but have been there longer than 15 years .Just saying .......... !

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Malia February 06 2014 at 7:49 PM

I would comment but there are several nonsensical comments below so I think I'll pass other than to say that many of you are showing your issues. Horrible what this sociopath did.

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jwyola February 06 2014 at 7:30 PM

Only 14 women put to death? How come no hue and cry for "gender equality"?

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honeyrose3332 February 06 2014 at 7:26 PM

This woman got what she had coming, but it took 15 years. I feel sorry for the victim, as he thought he was going to meet Busso for marriage. However, she was already married. Frankly though, she really got off way too easy as it sounds like she simply went to sleep and 11 minutes later was dead. Solitary confinement with no visitors for the rest of her life would have been more appropriate. Then she would have had all that time to think about what she did and what a low-life she was. We the taxpayers would have paid for that confinement though, so perhaps it's best she's gone. The world is a better place without people like that.

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Susan or Gerald February 06 2014 at 6:33 PM

Nice lady ,she should have committed her crime in New Jersey she would be out by now.I thought killing Yankees was legal in Texas.

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1 reply to Susan or Gerald's comment
flysalot2 February 06 2014 at 7:31 PM

If killing Yankees in Texas is legal then killing Confederates in southern states is too. Oh boy, are we going to have another Civil War?

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2 replies to flysalot2's comment
MARK February 06 2014 at 11:54 PM

The North would still win even if we had a Civil War! By the way Southern Cooking really does suck too. It's nasty.

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FATNESS February 07 2014 at 2:27 PM

Your flag says it all, mark....

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fentex5 February 06 2014 at 6:24 PM

Well, folks. This is Texas...dammit. If she hd claimed to be a "conservative" Republican, she might have been spared the execution.

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1 reply to fentex5's comment
Bob February 06 2014 at 10:25 PM

NO, she would voted for Obama if she wasnt locked up for so long!!! Glad she was in there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Enough idiots already!!!!!!!!!

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mkdogolfs February 06 2014 at 6:06 PM

Well, that will teach her!

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Marcie February 06 2014 at 6:04 PM

It's our messed up legal system that drags these cases on for years. Almost none of them are overturned on appeal, even when it's fairly obvious that the guilty verdict was wrong. I could see if the system was really providing "checks and balances" to make sure no one is wrongly executed, but it's not even doing that! It's millions of dollars, probably billions, wasted on people who are the dregs of society. Think about it....when does the US Government spend millions of dollars to make anyone's life better? Never. But we sure like to blow money on criminals. Criminals that we're going to kill anyway.

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ddiribbons February 06 2014 at 5:58 PM

Her first mistake was murdering the guy. Her second mistake was doing it in Texas. GO TEXAS..!!

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1 reply to ddiribbons's comment
flysalot2 February 06 2014 at 7:35 PM

Really... The last thing one would want to do is kill someone in Texas. Killing someone in Texas and getting life is like hitting the lottery. Bring them to Calif. They don't execute anyone. They sure like to make the threat though. Makes them feel like Texas.

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