Georgia Executes Woman After Spate of Appeals

     (CN) – The state of Georgia executed its first woman in 70 years early Wednesday morning after a series of last-ditch attempts to spare her life were shot down.
     Kelly Gissendaner, 47, died at 12:21 a.m. after being injected with the sedative pentobarbital at the Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, Georgia.
     According to the State Department of Corrections, said she sang “Amazing Grace” during her final moments.
     Gissendaner was convicted of convincing her lover to murder her husband, after she rejected a plea deal that would have spared her life. The boyfriend did accept a plea deal and eventually testified against her.
     Georgia had planned to execute Gissendaner earlier this year, but postponed her death twice, once because the cocktail of drugs to be used were “cloudy,” and on another time because of bad winter weather.
     Even on Tuesday Gissendaner’s execution was delayed for several hours by a series of ultimately unsuccessful legal appeals. Pope Francis had also asked that her life by spared.
     On Tuesday afternoon, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied Gissendaner’s request that it reconsider her case.
     Then, at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night, a divided Supreme Court denied a request to stay her execution. The justices in the majority offered no explanation for the denial, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor said she would have granted the stay.
     Gissendaner’s attorneys filed two more stay requests with the high court, but the justices rejected them, the last at about 11:30 p.m.
     Prison officials said the condemned woman addressed the witnesses before the drug was administered, saying, “Bless you all. Tell the Gissendaners I am so, so sorry that an amazing man lost his life because of me. If I could take it back, I would.”
     More than 100 death penalty protestors congregated outside of the prison. Two more executions are scheduled to take place this week, one in Oklahoma; the other in Virginia.

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