“As the personal representative of His Holiness Pope Francis to the United States of America, I make an urgent appeal, on his behalf, for the commutation of the death sentence of Ms. Kelly Gissendaner, who is scheduled to be executed later today”, the letter read.
But it was to no avail.
Gissendaner was sentenced to death for the 1997 crime in which she convinced her boyfriend, Gregory Owen, to kill her husband Douglas. He’s serving life in prison and becomes eligible for parole in 2022.
Kelly Gissendaner arrived at the scene just as her husband died.
Gissendaner’s lawyers submitted a statement from former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Fletcher to the parole board. A few days later, the department of corrections indefinitely postponed Gissendaner’s execution after finding “cloudy” lethal injection drugs.
She made a statement and requested a prayer before she was put to death by lethal injection after a flurry of last minute appeals.
Board users have not been affected through inmate’s hottest participation in clemency, which often underlined Gissendaner’s pattern activity imprisonment and bad for planning her husband’s brutality in 1997.
Reporters from around the country and supporters of Kelly Gissendaner were beginning to assemble Tuesday afternoon as her execution loomed.
Owen later took a plea deal and testified against Gissendaner, and for his co-operation was sentenced to life in prison.
On Tuesday, as the board weighed its decision, the Rev. Cathy Zappa appeared on CNN.
“During the years since my dad’s murder, I have struggled with the enormous pain of losing him and the fact that my mother was involved in his murder”, she said. The letter quoted the pope in his address recently before leaders in Washington, in which he called for the “global abolition of the death penalty”.
Fletcher said he has now decided he was wrong in voting to deny Gissendaner’s appeal in 2000 when he sat on the state Supreme Court, the statement says. He also noted that Georgia hadn’t executed a person who didn’t actually carry out a killing since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
Citing the need to balance justice and charity, Archbishop Gregory asked for clemency, saying that a sentence of life without parole would be compatible with that goal. The panel, which in February rejected a plea for mercy for Gissendaner, denied her latest request for clemency after it convened here in a closed session.
A rally in support of Kelly Gissendaner was held Monday evening at the state capitol in downtown Atlanta.
Two of her three children, Dakota and Kayla, previously addressed the board and earlier this month released a video pleading for their mother’s life to be spared.
“Kelly embraced that the children were going to talk to the Board of Pardons and Paroles”, Bacote said, adding that Gissendaner was able to speak to her children by phone Tuesday.