After the Supreme Court denied multiple last-minute requests to delay her execution, Kelly Gissendaner was executed on Wednesday in the state of Georgia. This is the first time Georgia has executed a woman in over 70 years, and the first time they have executed a person that did not commit the actual murder.
In 1997, Gissendaner was convicted of persuading her boyfriend to kill her husband, Douglas. After her conviction, she was sentenced to death a year later in 1998. This is the first time Georgia has sentenced anyone — man or woman — to death that was not actually, physically involved in the murder.
Gissendaner was scheduled for death row on Tuesday at 7 p.m. but her lawyers were able to give her a little more time by filing three appeals to try to spare her life.
In the days leading up to her scheduled execution, Gissendaner received an incredible amount of support — even receiving a letter on behalf of the Pope.
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Despite it all, in her final hours, her children were left with an unbearable choice: file a final appeal in front of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles or see their mother one last time. They decided to file one last appeal.
“We chose to file an appeal, and they still denied us,” Kayla Gissendaner, Gissendaner’s daughter, told reporters outside the execution facility in Jackson.
According to Democracy Now, Randall Savage of the local TV station WMAZ was there for her final moments. He went on to describe what occurred.
"She apologized for what she did. She said she was sorry that that an amazing man lost his life because of her. And once after the execution started, she began singing 'Amazing Grace' and sang it all the way through."