Kelly Gissendaner: Georgia postpones first execution of female prisoner for 70 years because of 'bad weather'

 

A woman on death row in Georgia was given another five days to live, courtesy of poor weather.

Kelly Gissendaner was due to have been executed by lethal injection at 7pm on Wednesday for plotting to kill her husband in 1997. It was to have been the first time in 70 years that the state had put a female prisoner to death.

But on Wednesday afternoon, just hours before Gissendaner was due to die, the authorities announced that the execution had been postponed because of a looming winter storm due to envelop the north of the state. Shortly before the announcement, officials had revealed her appeal for clemency had been rejected.

The National Weather Forecast said there could be between six to eight inches of snow in some parts of the state. As a result of this and “associated scheduling issues” the execution was rescheduled, Gwendolyn Hogan,a Georgia Department of Corrections spokesperson, told the Associated Press.

 

 

At Gissendaner’s conviction, a court was told she having a relationship with Gregory Owen and conspired with the 43-year-old to have her husband, Douglas Gissendaner, killed. Owen wanted Gissendaner to divorce her husband but she believed he would pester her. The pair had previously been divorced but remarried.

Owen forced Mr Gissendaner at knifepoint into a car and drove him to a remote area of Gwinnett County where he took him into the woods, clubbed him and stabbed him in the neck ten times.

Gissendaner had already selected her final meal – two Burger King Whoppers with cheese, two large orders of fries, popcorn, cornbread, a side of buttermilk and a salad with tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, carrots, cheese, boiled eggs and Paul Newman buttermilk dressing.

Douglas-Gissendaner.jpg
Kelly Gissendaner was convicted of plotting to kill her husband Douglas

In her clemency appeal, Gissendaner also apologised to her children and to her late husband’s family.

“There are no excuses for what I did. I am fully responsible for my role in my husband's murder,” she said. “I had become so self-centred and bitter about my life and who I had become, that I lost all judgment.”

Gissendaner’s death sentence is now due to be carried out on Monday evening, three days before the 70th anniversary of the execution of Lena Baker, the last woman to be put to death in Georgia. 

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