Clemency Board to Decide Fate of Kelly Gissendaner, Only Woman on Georgia's Death Row

Kelly Gissendaner's execution is scheduled for today at 7 p.m.

September 29, 2015, 12:01 PM

— -- Kelly Gissendaner, the only woman on Georgia's death row, is set to be executed tonight, and her final chance to be saved is at a last-minute meeting this morning.

The Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles is meeting in Atlanta at 11 a.m. "to receive supplemental information for or against clemency for Kelly Gissendaner," the board said.

Gissendaner's execution is scheduled for today at 7 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson.

Here is a look back at how Gissendaner landed on Georgia's death row:


Gissendaner was accused of convincing her boyfriend, Gregory Owen, to kill her husband, Douglas Gissendaner, in February 1997.

Owen and Kelly Gissendaner discussed killing Douglas Gissendaner "on four or five occasions, all at [Kelly] Gissendaner's initiation, before reaching a final agreement to kill him," according to Georgia's Attorney General's office.

"It was agreed that, on Feb. 7, 1997, while [Kelly] Gissendaner was out with friends, co-defendant Owen would kill Douglas. The murder went exactly as Gissendaner planned," the office of the Attorney General said.

Owen hit Douglas Gissendaner on the back of the head and then stabbed him in the neck eight to ten times, according to the Attorney General's Office.


Gissendaner was convicted of malice murder in 1998. The jury recommended the death penalty.

Gissendaner filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied in 1999, the Attorney General's office said.


Gissendaner's case went back and forth in the legal system over the years, including appeals and habeas corpus proceedings. In 2014, Gissendaner requested to appeal to the United States Supreme Court, which was denied, the Attorney General's office said.

February 2015:

Gissendaner's lawyers submitted an application for clemency, asking for a 90-day stay of her execution, which had been scheduled for Feb. 25, 2015.

The application claimed "Gissendaner has accepted responsibility for her actions" and "has expressed deep remorse." The application said Gissendaner's children would be further harmed if she were executed and also mentioned that her co-defendant was sentenced to life and is eligible to seek parole in 8 years.

The Feb. 25 execution date was delayed because of inclement weather, according to an application for reconsideration of clemency submitted to the board this month.

March 2015:

Gissendaner's execution was rescheduled for March 2, but corrections officials postponed it, saying it was because the execution drug appeared cloudy.

September 2015:

Gissendaner's lawyers submitted another application for clemency this month, asking for a 90-day stay of the execution scheduled for today.

Gissendaner's attorney, Susan Casey, said today's hearing was set after one of Gissendaner's children asked to speak to the board members. Gissendaner's other two children had already asked the board to spare her life at a hearing earlier this year.

This board is the only entity with the power to commute a death sentence in Georgia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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