A mom in Georgia was executed
early Wednesday morning, leaving behind 3 children. According to CNN, Kelly Gissendaner was sentenced to death by lethal
injection in 1998 for her role in the murder of her husband, making history as
the state's only female death row inmate. She was the first female to be
executed in the state of Georgia in 70 years.
In 1997, she convinced
her boyfriend Gregory Owen to kill her husband. Owen carried out her wishes and
after being captured for the crime, testified against Gissendaner. He was
sentenced to life in prison but was spared the death penalty. In 1998, Gissendaner
was sentenced to death for orchestrating her husband's murder.
The execution was
scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. but was delayed by 5 hours due to appeals filed
by lawyers to state and federal courts as a last ditch effort to try to spare
Her 3 children were
given the option to see their mother one last time but instead chose to spend
their mother's final day on earth making an appeal in front of the Georgia
Board of Pardons and Paroles.
"We chose to try
and save her life, and they still denied us," daughter Kayla Gissendaner
said outside the state's execution facility in Jackson.
Numerous appeals by
her 3 children, attorneys and even Pope Francis could not halt her sentence
being carried out. In an effort to sway the federal courts, Pope Francis wrote
a personal letter.
"While not wishing
to minimize the gravity of the crime for which Ms. Gissendaner has been
convicted, and while sympathizing with the victims, I nonetheless implore you,
in consideration of the reasons that have been presented to your Board, to
commute the sentence to one that would better express both justice and
mercy," the letter read.