Georgia Executes Kelly Gissendaner

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After several hours delayed due to last-minute emergency appeals filed by her lawyers, the state of Georgia has executed Kelly Renee Gissendaner, convicted in 1998 for her part in the murder-for-hire of her husband, Douglas Gissendaner.

In February 1997, Douglas Gissendaner was found stabbed to death in the woods by game wardens checking for poachers about a mile from his burned out car in Dacula. He had been missing for about a week.

At the trial a year later, it would be revealed that Kelly Gissendaner was having problems in her marriage and she conspired with her lover, Gregory Owen, to murder Douglas. Gissendaner was sentenced to death while her co-defendant was sentenced to life in prison.

Several notable figures had come forward to try to have clemency granted for her including her former warden, a former Georgia chief justice, two of her children, and even a plea from Pope Francis. But after many court at appeals and hearings before Georgia’s Parole Board, her execution went forward as scheduled.

For 17 years, Kelly Gissendaner was the only female on Georgia’s death row. Three times, the 47-year-old had been scheduled to be executed with the previous date being postponed due to the inclement winter weather. She is the first woman executed by the state in 70 years.

Gissendaner was scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m., but due to several motions filed in various courts, it was delayed for several hours. She was executed shortly after midnight Wednesday.