State of Georgia Executes First Female Prisoner in 70 Years

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DeShawn Smith, Staff Reporter

The State of Georgia executed a prisoner early morning Wednesday on September 30th. She was the first woman that was put to death by the state in seven decades.

Kelly Renee Gissendaner was injected with pentobarbital at 12:21 a.m. in Jackson state prison. She was convicted of committing first-degree (premeditated) murder, with her fellow lover, in the February of 1997 by stabbing her husband, Douglas Gissendaner, repeatedly.

The prisoner reportedly apologized to Douglas’s family and told her own children how much she loves them. She also had something to say to her lawyer: 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 Rev. Della Bacote, a chaplain at Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville, she was at peace with whatever was to come.

Her three children were able to talk to her on Monday, September 28. On Tuesday however they weren’t able to talk to her because they were testifying before the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles is the only presence that can commute a death sentence in Georgia.

Pope Francis also had say in this case. He sent a messenger with a letter and the letter said: “While not wishing to minimize the gravity of the crime for which Ms. Gissendaner has been convicted, and while sympathizing with the victims, I nonetheless implore you, in consideration of the reasons that have been presented to your Board, to commute the sentence to one that would better express both justice and mercy.”

According to CNN, it wasn’t clear if the board got the Pope Francis’ letter. A spokesman from the board declined to answer the media, and told what happens in the hearings stays private.

The actual execution was postponed twice. Gissendaner was supposed to get executed in February, but they called it off due to unpleasant weather. After finding lethal injection drugs they postponed the execution again.

Gissendaner’s final words were addressed to her children was,” I love you.”