A Smith County jury has sentenced convicted murderer Kimberly Cargill to death after deliberating for more than eight hours today (Thursday, May 31).

Cargill was found guilty of killing Cherry Walker, dumping her body on the side of County Road 2191 and setting it on fire in June of 2010. Walker, who was mentally challenged, had been subpoenaed to testify against Cargill in a child custody case.

Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham asked the jury in his closing arguments to hand down the death penalty. Cargill will become the first woman executed in Texas since Frances Newton in 2005, and the fourth in Texas since 1863. Only 51 women have been executed in the United States since 1900.

The only two options for Cargill’s punishment were the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. Both the prosecution and defense rested their cases Wednesday, and the jury started deliberating early Thursday afternoon.

The jury delivered the sentence to the court just after 9 p.m.

The case was tried in Judge Jack Skeen’s 241st district court in Tyler.