Kelly Gissendaner Executed In The US Over Husband’s Murder, Despite Pleas From...

Kelly Gissendaner Executed In The US Over Husband’s Murder, Despite Pleas From The Pope

By The Guardian UK on September 30, 2015
Kelly Gissendaner is seen in 2004. | Bita Honarvar/AP

Georgia has executed Kelly Renee Gissendaner with a fatal injection for the slaying of her husband, despite a plea for clemency from their children.

Last-minute appeals from her lawyers to the 11th US circuit court of appeals and the US supreme court as well as the Georgia board of pardons and paroles all failed.

Gissendaner, 47, died by injection of pentobarbital at 12:21am EDT on Wednesday at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification prison in Jackson, a prison spokeswoman said.

She sobbed as she said she loved her children and apologized to the family of her husband Douglas Gissendaner, who she was convicted of conspiring to murder, saying she hoped they could find some peace and happiness.

She also addressed her lawyer, Susan Casey, who was among the witnesses.

“I just want to say God bless you all and I love you, Susan. You let my kids know I went out singing Amazing Grace,” Gissendaner said, according to Associated Press.

The corrections department said she turned down an optional sedative ahead of the execution.

She was the first woman executed in Georgia for 70 years and the sixteenth across the US since the supreme court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

The board of pardons and parole had received a letter on behalf of Pope Francis urging them not to allow Gissendaner’s execution, the first since the pope’s address to the US Congress last week in which he called on the United States to abolish the death penalty. Gissendaner’s is one of six executions scheduled over the next nine days across the US, including that of Richard Glossip in Oklahoma on Wednesday afternoon.

Gissendaner was convicted of conspiring with her lover, Gregory Owen, who ambushed her husband, forced him to drive to a remote area and stabbed him repeatedly in February 1997. Owen and Gissendaner then met up and set fire to the dead man’s car.

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