The only woman on Georgia’s death row was executed early Wednesday morning. This was the first woman executed in Georgia in 70 years. Support and pleas from family members and even from Pope Francis did not stop 47-year-old Kelly Renee Gissendaner from being executed by lethal injection of pentobarbital at 12:21 a.m. at the state prison in Jackson, according to CNN on Wednesday.
Gissendaner was convicted of murdering her husband in February 1997. She did not stab him, but she conspired with her lover, Gregory Owen, to stab her husband, Douglas Gissendaner, to death. Owen got a plea deal and is spending the rest of his life in prison.
ABC News reported that Gissendaner sobbed as she said she loved her children and apologized to Douglas Gissendaner’s family. She said she hopes they can find peace and happiness. Her lawyer, Susan Casey was among the witnesses. Gissendaner told Casey to let her children know she loved them and that she went out singing “Amazing Grace.”
Gissendaner was scheduled to die at 7 p.m. Tuesday, but her lawyers filed multiple requests to the U.S. Supreme Court to try to spare her life. Each attempt failed, and after a five-hour delay, Gissendaner was eventually put to death. Pleas from Gissendaner’s children and a recent letter on behalf of the Pope weren’t enough to get the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole to stop the execution. Attorney Susan Casey said Gissendaner’s children were heartbroken because of their mother’s execution. The request to visit with their mother for an additional 24 hours was denied.
A similar execution is scheduled for Richard Glossip on Wednesday by the state of Oklahoma. Gissendaner and Glossip’s execution are cases where the convicted murderers were not the ones who actually killed their victims. In both cases, someone else did the actually killing, but their lives were spared with a life sentence in prison instead of death.