By Holly Yan and Bill Mears
(CNN) — Barring a last-minute reprieve, Kimberly McCarthy will earn a notorious distinction in death Wednesday.
McCarthy, 52, is set to be the 500th inmate executed in Texas since 1976. The former occupational therapist was convicted of murdering her 71-year-old neighbor in 1997.
Authorities said McCarthy entered the retired professor’s home with the intent to rob her. McCarthy repeatedly stabbed her and then took her credit cards and vehicle.
Texas has led the nation in the number of executions since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. But the number of states carrying out capital punishment continues to drop.
Last year, Texas executed more people than it sentenced to death for the eighth straight year.
Four states — Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Arizona — accounted for three-fourths of all U.S. executions in 2012.
™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.