Kelly Gissendaner, scheduled to be executed first in February, and then last night, has seen her execution postponed once more.
The Episcopal Café reported over the weekend on Gissendaner’s case. The mother of three was convicted of planning the murder of her husband in 1997, but is reported to have turned her life around in prison, undergoing a religious conversion, studying theology, and offering pastoral care to other inmates. CNN reports that a petition for clemency has garnered 80,000 signatures so far, and will be delivered to Governor Deal of Georgia, although he does not have the authority to grant clemency.
“While incarcerated, she has been a pastoral presence to many, teaching, preaching and living a life of purpose,” the petition states. “Kelly is a living testament to the possibility of change and the power of hope. She is an extraordinary example of the rehabilitation that the corrections system aims to produce.”
Her appeal lawyers also argued that Gissendaner had expressed deep remorse for her actions, become a model inmate and grown spiritually. They said her death would cause further hardship for her children.
Yesterday, the State Supreme Court denied Gissendaner’s request for a stay of execution, and the parole board upheld its earlier decision not to grant clemency, but a potential problem with the drug to be administered to kill her led officials to postpone the execution once more. A new date has not yet been set.
CNN notes that the only other woman to have been executed by the state of Georgia, Lena Baker, received a posthumous pardon sixty years after her death, when the parole board found that “it was a grievous error to deny (her) clemency.”
Activist Sister Helen Prejean tweeted last night under #kellyonmymind,
“Kelly Gissendaner has prepared for death & come within hours of it twice in less than a week. This is torture, plain & simple.”
Posted by Rosalind Hughes