Clemency Denied for Woman on Death Row

     ATLANTA (CN) – The Georgia State Board of Pardons and Parole has denied a clemency appeal for the state’s only woman on death row.
     The execution of 47-year-old Kelly Gissendaner, who was convicted and sentenced to die for orchestrating the 1997 murder of her husband, will proceed as scheduled at 7 p.m. Tuesday. She will be the first woman to be executed in Georgia in 70 years.
     She will be put to death by lethal injection at the Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, Georgia.
     A federal judge on Monday denied a request to stay the execution, and a rally was held in downtown Atlanta in support of sparing Gissendaner’s life. Gissendaner’s three adult children testified on their mother’s behalf in an Atlanta courtroom Tuesday morning, painting a picture of a woman who changed her life for the better in prison.
     Pope Francis, fresh off his trip to the United States, sent the board a letter through a representative on Tuesday asking to spare Gissendaner’s life.
     Her execution has already been delayed twice this year. A winter storm prevented her execution in February, and in March the execution was put off again due to concerns with the lethal injection drug pentobarbital.
     Gissendaner is not the only American inmate to be put to death this week, with executions scheduled in Oklahoma and Virginia on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

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