Pope’s plea denied: Pope Francis Kelly Renee Gissendaner

Published: September 29, 2015

Pope’s plea denied: Pope Francis Kelly Renee Gissendaner, The Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole has denied clemency for death row inmate Kelly Gissendaner, it said in a news release. She is scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday, September 29th at 7 p.m. ET at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson.

Gissendaner will be the state’s first female convict to be executed in 70 years. The board had the option to commute her sentence to life in prison.

It’s very rare to execute women. Only 15 female inmates have been put to death in the United States since 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. The last woman in Georgia was executed in the electric chair in 1945.

Gissendaner was sentenced to death for the 1997 crime in which she convinced her boyfriend, Gregory Owen, to kill her husband Douglas.

His family issued a statement Tuesday which stated, in part, “As the murderer, she’s [Kelly] been given more rights and opportunity over the last 18 years than she ever afforded to Doug, who, again, is the victim here. She had no mercy, gave him no rights, no choices, nor the opportunity to live his life. His life was not hers to take.”

“Kelly planned and executed Doug’s murder,” it read. “She targeted him and his death was intentional. Kelly chose to have her day in court and after hearing the facts of this case, a jury of her peers sentenced her to death.”

There had been a big push to keep her from being executed. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole received a letter from Pope Francis as it met Tuesday to determine whether Gissendaner would be executed.

Gissendaner’s children have pleaded for her life.

“My dad would not want my mom to be executed, even knowing her role in his murder,” Kayla Gissendaner said in a statement. “He would not want us to endure another devastating loss.”

The daughter said her mother has changed over the past 18 years.


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