· 30th September 2015. The State of Georgia in the US has executed Kelly Renee Gissendaner with a fatal injection for the slaying of her husband, despite a plea for clemency from their children.
· She was the first woman executed in Georgia for 70 years and the sixteenth across the US since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
· Gregory Owen, her lover and accomplice, pleaded guilty and testified against Gissendaner, who did not take part in the stabbing. He is serving a life sentence and becomes eligible for parole in 2022.
· Gissendaner’s three children, Dakota, Kayla and Brandon, had sought clemency for their mother and earlier this month released a video pleading for her life to be spared. They detailed their own journeys to forgiving her and said they would suffer terribly from having a second parent taken from them.
· Gissendaner’s lawyers submitted a statement from former Georgia Supreme Court chief justice Norman Fletcher to the parole board. Fletcher argued Gissendaner’s death sentence was not proportionate to her role in the crime. He also noted that Georgia hadn’t executed a person who didn’t actually carry out a killing since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. She was the first woman executed in Georgia in 70 years. Lena Baker, a black maid, was executed in 1945 after being convicted in a one-day trial of killing her white employer. Georgia officials issued her a pardon in 2005 after six decades of lobbying and arguments by her family that she likely killed the man because he was holding her against her will.
Extracts from the Guardian newspaper of 30th September