Wednesday, February 25, 2015

If all goes according to plan, Georgia will execute Kelly Gissendaner tonight...

Although I lived in Georgia for about a year and a half, I can't say I followed a lot of crime cases there.  Over the past couple of weeks, there have been news articles about Kelly Gissendaner, a 46 year old woman who got her boyfriend to kidnap and kill her husband, Doug Gissendaner.  According to what I've read, back in 1997, Kelly Gissendaner was unhappy in her marriage.  She was cheating on Doug with a man named Gregory Owen.  She wanted a fresh start, but apparently didn't feel that divorce would give her the complete freedom from her ex that she sought.  Kelly asked Owen to kidnap and murder her husband.

I will admit that I don't know anything about Kelly Gissendaner or her late husband, Doug.  I do know that she is the only woman on Georgia's death row and, if she is executed tonight, will be only the second woman to die in Georgia's death chamber.  That makes me think that despite her original assurances that she was totally innocent of her crime, what she did must have been egregiously terrible.  I mean, she is definitely not the only woman in Georgia who has committed murder, but she is, for some reason, only the second to face the ultimate penalty.

From what I've read, Kelly and Doug Gissendaner were married for seven years, which she claims were very rocky.  Yet somehow she was still able to have three kids with this man that she claims wouldn't leave her alone after a divorce.  That was how she justified having him offed by her lover-- no doubt because she alleges that he was "abusive".  In one article, I read that Kelly dropped Owen off at her house before going to a party.  Seems to me that if Doug Gissendaner was that fearsome, Kelly would not have been partying on the night of his murder, which she plotted and premeditated with her boyfriend.

Kelly supposedly hoped to benefit from two $10,000 life insurance policies her husband had and their $84,000 house.  Curiously enough, Gregory Owen, who actually carried out the kidnapping, beating, and stabbing of Doug Gissendaner, was able to confess to the crime and testify against Kelly in exchange for a life sentence.    

I have a hard time believing that Kelly Gissendaner, who claims to have "found God" and is described as a "model prisoner", had anything but selfish intentions when she asked Owen to murder her husband.  At the same time, I am not a fan of the death penalty and I don't think most murder cases warrant putting someone to death, especially since the executions usually happen many years after the crime has occurred.  Kelly Gissendaner has been on death row since 1998.  She's had 17 years to redeem herself.

I read that it's highly unusual for a person like Kelly Gissendaner to be executed.  For one thing, she's a woman.  For another, there was only one murder victim.  Apparently, the death penalty was on the table because prosecutors wanted to put her away with no chance at parole.  Somehow, she ended up being sentenced to death anyway.  This is pretty tragic for her children; as of tonight, one of them will have lost both parents to homicide.  Kelly's other two kids have different fathers.

Personally, I think that executions should only be carried out in situations where public safety is an issue and they should be carried out with as little fanfare as possible.  I think they should only be done when there is no doubt of someone's guilt; that way, time and money won't be wasted on endless court appeals.  There is no doubt that Kelly Gissendaner is guilty of what Georgia will execute her for tonight.  Meanwhile, she's been sitting on death row with increased security measures for the better part of two decades.  That extra security costs a lot of money.  

Another notable detail about this case...  Kelly Gissendaner has requested an enormous last meal.

Hope she's hungry.

ETA:  Looks like Kelly Gissendaner got a few days reprieve thanks to Old Man Winter.


  1. You inspired a post at my blog. I gave you credit. I think I responded here earlier and it got lost, or maybe I just responded in the wrong place.

    1. I checked it out! For the record, I think most of what Kelly ordered is pretty nasty... especially the salad. Yuck!


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