Kelly Gissendaner, Georgia’s only female inmate on death row, once again found her execution postponed late Monday night due to a problem with the lethal-injection drugs.
This marks the second delay for Gissendaner, whose original execution was scheduled for February 25th, but was similarly deferred due to a winter storm. The Pardons and Paroles board denied her lawyers’ request for clemency last week, but has yet to announce the new date and time.
Only 16 women have been put to death since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of capital punishment in 1976. The mother of three has remained on death row since her 1997 conviction for plotting to murder her husband. Although she did not personally carry out the plan (instead enlisting her then-boyfriend to stab him to death) Georgia officials claim that the punishment does in fact fit the crime. Her boyfriend, Gregory Owen, testified against her in exchange for a life sentence with possibility of parole.
Supporters inside the Jackson prison, as well as numerous family and community members, have called for leniency, citing Gissendaner’s reformation through faith and earnest displays of remorse as cause to spare her life. Four years ago, she graduated from the prison theology program and has worked to counsel other inmates struggling with life behind bars. Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter has stated that her actions while incarcerated do not diminish or negate her murder conviction, and that her execution is right to be carried out in the coming days.
As the 11th U.S. Circuit of Appeals has also denied a stay of execution, it falls to the U.S. Supreme Court to decide Gissendaner’s fate. As of Tuesday morning, there has been no ruling, with the official statement remaining that the execution is temporarily postponed.
image c/o msnbc.com