ATLANTA (AP) — Lawyers for the only woman on Georgia’s death row asked the State Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday to reconsider her request to have her sentence changed to life in prison.
Kelly Renee Gissendaner, 46, is set for execution at 7 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson. Gissendaner was convicted of murder in the February 1997 stabbing death of her husband. Prosecutors said she plotted his death with her boyfriend, Gregory Owen.
Owen pleaded guilty and is serving a life prison sentence with the possibility for parole after 25 years.
Gissendaner’s lawyers note that the parole board heard during a clemency hearing last week from many people testifying about Gissendaner’s faith and remorse. But, her lawyers argue, the board did not hear from many Department of Corrections employees whose perspective “would have left no doubt that a grant of clemency is supported in this case.”
Those employees, Gissendaner’s lawyers say, were hesitant to testify.
“Although DOC rules ostensibly say that employees are permitted to speak to counsel in capital clemency proceedings if desired, the reality of this rule is less than clear,” Gissendaner’s lawyers wrote.
Gissendaner was originally set to be executed last Wednesday, but the Department of Corrections postponed her execution because of projected winter weather conditions and associated scheduling issues.
If Gissendaner’s execution happens, she will be the first woman executed in Georgia since 1945 and only the 16th woman put to death nationwide since the Supreme Court allowed the death penalty to resume in 1976.
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