Georgia is about to execute the only woman on its death row — here’s what you should know CMG file / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATLANTA — The only woman on death row in Georgia faces a Tuesday execution and would be the first woman put to death in the state since 1945.

Kelly Renee Gissendaner, 47, is scheduled to die at 7 p.m. Tuesday for her role in the February 1997 slaying of her husband, Douglas Gissendaner. Officials delayed her execution in February due to a winter storm and again in March after the drug to be used in her execution appeared to be cloudy.

Gissendaner was convicted and sentenced to death in November 1999. Her lover, Gregory Bruce Owen, pleaded guilty to murder, testified against her and is serving a life sentence.

Gissendaner’s fate now lies with the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, which is set to meet Tuesday morning.

The execution of women is rare, statistics show. Some facts about women on death row:

– 56 women were on death row nationwide as of Dec. 31, 2014, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

– Less than 2 percent of the total inmates on death rows across the country are women.

– 1,414 people have been executed in the United States since 1976, when a moratorium on executions was lifted, but only 15 have been women.

– The last woman executed in the U.S. was in September 2014 when Texas executed Lisa Ann Coleman for the 2004 death of her girlfriend’s 9-year-old son, according to the Clark County (Ind.) Prosecuting Attorney’s website.

– The last woman executed in Georgia was Lena Baker on March 5, 1945. Baker, a black woman convicted of murdering her white employer, was posthumously pardoned by the state in 2005.

According to media reports, Gissendaner’s children want the state to spare their mother’s life. Former Georgia Supreme Court Justice Norman Fletcher, who in 2000 voted to uphold Gissendaner’s death sentence, is among those calling for her sentence to be commuted.

Meanwhile, the family of Douglas Gissendaner said in a statement that Kelly Gissendaner has “been given more rights and opportunity over the last 18 years than she ever afforded to Doug who, again, is the victim here,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

For her last meal, Gissendaner requested cheese dip with chips, Texas fajita nachos and a diet frosted lemonade, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections.

Todd DeFeo About the author:
Todd DeFeo is a writer, marketer and wanderer. Follow Todd on Twitter and check out his blog, The Travel Trolley.
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