North Carolina: Death of a Grandmother

She was only one of three convicts put to death last week, and the 29th since the Supreme Court effectively reinstated the death penalty in 1976. But the case of Margie Velma Barfield, 52, was different, and not just because she was the first woman executed in the U.S. since 1962.

Convicted six years ago of poisoning her fiance, Barfield, once a private nurse, confessed to killing three other people: her mother and two patients. Nevertheless, she attracted a fervent following who believed her claims that she had acted under the influence of a variety of prescription drugs.

Barfield spent her...

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