Georgia parole board to execute woman,despite pope’s pleas

A Georgia parole board has decided to execute a woman, despite a plea for clemency from Pope Francis. The woman, Kelly Gissendander, is scheduled to be executed by way of lethal injection at 7 PM, Tuesday. Gissendander was found guilty of arranging her husband’s murder, 20 years ago.

In a statement the board notes the pope’s request, but, “…After carefully considering the request for reconsideration, and meeting with Gissendander’s representatives again today, the Board has voted to let the decision of February 25, 2015, denying clemency stand,” ABC News reports.

This is the third request for clemency in Gissendander’s case, with the last one denied by the Supreme Court in October 2014. The board reached their final decision today, in a meeting held in Atlanta, in which they were to, “to receive supplemental information for or against clemency for Kelly Gissendaner,” the board said.

The letter received cited Pope Francis’ recent speech to Congress, saying, “…society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes.” The letter was signed by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, requesting both justice and mercy.

In Feburuary 1997, Gissendander was accused of convincing Gregory Owen to kill her husband, Douglas Gissendander. Owen and Gissendander met up multiple times to reach an agreement to kill Douglas. The murder went completely as planned, by the two. Douglas Gissendander was struck in the back of the head by Owen, then stabbed in the neck at least 8 times.  Kelly Gissendander was convicted of murder in 1998.



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