Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Suzanne Basso and the Murder of Louis 'Buddy' Musso

On Death Row

The final loose end in the case was tied up six weeks after Basso's conviction when Hope Ahrens pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. She is the only one of the six Musso killers with a realistic chance of parole.

Sue Basso, mugshot
Sue Basso, mugshot

Sue Basso, prisoner No. 999329, lives on Death Row with eight other condemned women at the Mountain View Unit prison in Gatesville, 45 minutes west of Waco.

Gatesville Prison
Gatesville Prison

Seven of the eight women have longer Death Row tenures than Basso, and her execution is not expected anytime soon.

The longest-tenured female on Death Row has at least one other thing in common with Basso. In 1987, Francis Newton, then 22, murdered her husband and two young children for a life insurance payoff.

Newton was scheduled to die Dec. 1, 2004, after 16 years of waiting but was granted a three-month reprieve by the Texas governor.

The average stay on Death Row in Texas, including both men and women, is 10 1/2 years. If that holds true in her case, Basso faces execution in the year 2010.

Her daughter is counting the days.

After the death penalty was announced, she hugged prosecutors and cried tears of joy.

"We got a victory!" Christianna Hardy told reporters. "This is wonderful. Justice has finally been served! She's off the streets! She can't hurt anybody. Let the inmates kill her. I don't care."

She continued, "She was never a mother. She doesn't have any mothering instincts. She threw us away and left us out there to fend for ourselves. Now, let her do a little fending for herself."

When Basso's execution date comes around, Hardy later told the Houston Chronicle's Steve Brewer, "I might just sit at home and pop a bottle of champagne when the lethal injection is given."


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