Kelly Gissendaner: Georgia Executes First Woman in 70 Years

Kelly Gissendaner, the only woman on Georgia’s death row, was executed early Wednesday morning. She is the first woman to be executed in Georgia in 70 years.

Gissendaner was pronounced dead at 12:21 a.m. by lethal injection.

She was convicted of convincing her boyfriend, Gregory Owen, to murder her husband, Douglas Gissendaner, in February 1997, close to 20 years ago. The court viewed her as the primary orchestrator of the crime, and she was convicted of malice murder.

Georgia executes Kelly Gissendaner

Georgia executes Kelly Gissendaner, first woman in 70 years. Photo credit: Twitter/FOX 5 Atlanta

According to the Attorney General’s office, Owen hit the victim on the back of the head and then stabbed him in the neck eight to 10 times. He was spared a death sentence because he took a plea deal to testify against Gissendaner.

A number of efforts were made on her behalf to motion for a stay of execution, including a letter from Pope Francis to the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles. He pleaded for both justice and mercy.

Public sentiment has also been running high about the execution with many citizens expressing their desire for compassion in the case. More than 90,000 Georgians signed a petition asking Governor Nathan Deal to stop the execution.

The inmate’s adult children supported clemency as well and are said to be “heartbroken” over her death.

In support of the execution was the family of the murder victim, which has stated that the focus during this time should not be on Gissendaner, but on him.

The inmate’s pastor and children insist that she turned her life around while in prison and was rehabilitated.

Execution proceedings had been postponed twice, once due to inclement weather and the second time due to an issue found with the injection drugs.

Gissendaner sent last words to her children, “I love you.” She sang Amazing Grace while on the gurney after being injected until her life passed from her body.

She was 47 years old at the time of her execution.


Video: YouTube/USA TODAY

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