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Thursday, October 1, 2015

woman convicted of killing her husband - executed in Georgia, USA

Why would a woman ordering - cornbread, buttermilk, two Whoppers with cheese and all the trimmings, two large orders of French fries, cherry vanilla ice cream, popcorn and lemonade, make news.  The woman also wanted a salad with boiled eggs, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, carrots and cheese to be topped with Paul Newman buttermilk dressing. It is because, it is - Gissendaner scheduled to die by lethal injection for the 1998 murder of her husband, Doug.

‘Bali Nine’  was the name given to a group of nine Australians convicted for smuggling 8.3 kg (18 lb) of heroin valued at around A$4 million from Indonesia to Australia.  9 were to be executed – but  there was a surprise last-minute reprieve for Philippines woman Mary Jane Veloso after the Indonesian attorney general responded to calls from Manila that she should be spared to act as a witness against the woman expected to be charged with trafficking her.  A huge campaign to spare the life of mother-of-two, Mary Jane Veloso, the only woman among those slated for execution, had been under way in the Philippines for days.

Georgia,  is a state located in the south eastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies.  Named after King George II of Great Britain, Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, in  1788.  Georgia is known as the Peach State and the Empire State of the South. Atlanta is the state's capital and its most populous city.

At Georgia today, Steve Hayes from Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles announced the decision, while Reverend Cathy Zappa said she was "disappointed" ~the decision of execution of a woman despite a number of last-ditch appeals, including one by the Pope, to try to block her execution.

Kelly Gissendaner, 47, was the first woman put to death in the southern US state in 70 years. Lawyers filed at least three appeals with the US Supreme Court to try to delay the sentence hours before she died. Gissendaner planned but did not carry out her husband's murder in 1997. Her former lover, Gregory Owen, who killed Douglas Gissendaner, was given life in prison as part of a plea bargain. Pope Francis, who was recently on a US tour, urged the review board to reconsider. But on Tuesday afternoon, the board announced it was not granting clemency.

Hours later, the US Supreme Court said it had rejected three applications for a stay of execution.  The Pope reportedly  wrote that, while not wishing to minimise the gravity of the crime, he implored the board "to commute the sentence to one that would better express both justice and mercy". Gissendaner's lawyers told the board she had undergone a transformation in prison, offering support to troubled inmates and showing remorse for her own crime.

A former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice  stated that Georgia had not executed a person who had not committed the actual killing since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.  Georgia has executed nearly 60 people since 1976, and has more than 80 people on death row.

Douglas Gissendaner's family said in a statement that Kelly Gissendaner's sentence was appropriate. "She had no mercy, gave him no rights, no choices, nor the opportunity to live his life," the family said. Gissendaner has had two previous execution dates. Her execution was rescheduled in February because of a winter storm that was forecast to hit Georgia, and the next date in March was cancelled after officials said the drug used in the lethal injection was cloudy. 

So at the state prison in Jackson, Kelly Renee Gissendaner, 47, died by lethal injection of pentobarbital and becomes the first woman executed in the state in 70 years.  The woman who was executed earlier was Lena Baker, an African American maid who was falsely accused of capital murder by the state of Georgia in 1945 for killing her white employer, Ernest Knight, and executed by the state. Baker was the only woman to be executed by electrocution in Georgia. In 2005, sixty years after her execution, the state of Georgia granted Ms. Baker a full and unconditional pardon. The feature film The Lena Baker Story (2008) chronicles the events surrounding her early life and her execution.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

30th Sept. 2015.

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