You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Gissendaner execution postponed

The scheduled execution of Kelly Gissendaner was postponed Monday. It wasn’t because of pleas by her supporters, but because of issues with the execution drugs.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gwendolyn Hogan, who made that announcement shortly before 11 p.m., said there would be no questions answered and walked away without saying when the execution would occur.

She said the phenobarbital, made by a compounding pharmacy, “appeared cloudy” and out of “an abundance of caution” the execution was called off. Hogan said the drugs had been tested by an independent lab prior to the scheduled execution and found to be within accepted paramaters. It was only later the drugs appeared cloudy.

Gissendaner’s friends and supporters had hoped a last-minute reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court would keep her from becoming the first woman executed by Georgia in 70 years.

She had been scheduled to die at 7 p.m. for persuading her lover to murder her husband in 1997.

Gissendaner’s case attracted national and international attention, including last-minute attempts to save her by her attorneys and petitions and political action by those agitating for mercy for the 46-year-old mother of three.

A response from the high court was pending after an appellate court rejected her lawyers’ request for a delay on the grounds that Georgia’s lethal-injection procedures aren’t transparent enough to be challenged in court. Her lawyers added in a filing late Monday that the justices should take into account that she had been thoroughly rehabilitated, and that she didn’t take part in the actual killing.

Her friends included Jurgen Moltmann, an influential Christian theologian from Germany. Moltmann met Gissendaner as she was studying in a theological program in prison run by a collection of Atlanta-based divinity schools. Moltmann visited her when he came to lecture at Emory University.

Moltmann told The New York Times: “And I have found her very sensitive, and not a monster, as the newspapers depicted her. And very intelligent.

“She has changed her mind, and her life.”

Gissendaner was to have been put to death Wednesday, Feb. 25, for engineering her husband’s murder by her lover, Gregory Owen, but the threat of a winter storm led the commissioner of the Department of Corrections to push back the day, giving her five more days to live. She spent some of the time with two of her three adult children, who had reconciled with their mother.

After her appeals had failed and the state Board of Pardons and Paroles had rejected her plea to change her death sentence to life, an online push on her behalf began over the weekend. A hash tag — #kellyonmymind — was created. A petition was started on An online plea to Gov. Nathan Deal was posted, even though Georgia’s governor has no authority to grant reprieves. Sister Helen Prejean, the anti-death penalty activist who wrote “Dead Man Walking,” was posting her thoughts about Gissendaner on Twitter Monday.

Gissendaner’s lawyers filed an emergency application Monday morning for a 90-day stay. They hoped to allow time for another prison system official to advocate for her: Kathy Seabolt, who was a warden six years at the prisons where Gissendaner was housed. Seabolt is now over field operations for the entire prison system.

Several hours later, the Parole Board again declined to grant clemency.

Gissendaner’s lawyers said the parole board did not have a chance to hear the overwhelmingly positive testimony of many corrections employees who declined to speak up for fear of retaliation. They wrote that one high-ranking DOC employee has joined prison guards who went public earlier with their pleas to spare her. The lawyers also said the current warden had sent a memo telling staff not to speak to anyone about the execution, and that kept some from making statements on Gissendaner’s behalf.

They also cited a day when they say former Parole Board member James Donald, who also has been corrections commissioner, was at the prison and in effect assured Gissendaner she would someday get out.

“Each time, General Donald reiterated his statement that Ms. Gissendaner did not need to worry about clemency as it was a foregone conclusion,” Gissendaner’s lawyers wrote.

It takes a vote by three of the five Parole Board members to grant clemency. Donald left the Parole Board Feb. 1, replaced by former Corrections Commissioner Brian Owen.

Gissendaner spent what she thought may be her final hours visiting with two of her children and a lawyer.

She was allowed to shower and then ate her planned “final” meal of two Whoppers with cheese, two large orders of fries, popcorn, buttermilk and cornbread, ice cream and lemonade.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Chick-fil-A employee saves co-worker from choking
Chick-fil-A employee saves co-worker from choking

A fast-thinking employee at a Colorado Chick-fil-A restaurant saved a co-worker who was choking, ABC News reported. >> Read more trending news Andrew Myrant was on his break at the restaurant in Highlands Ranch when a co-worker signaled he was choking, ABC News reported. A video captured Myrant quickly coming to his co-worker’s aid and...
Michigan man says he killed stepdaughter because 'it wasn't dinnertime'
Michigan man says he killed stepdaughter because 'it wasn't dinnertime'

A Michigan man on trial for the murder of his 5-year-old stepdaughter said he killed the girl because “it wasn’t dinnertime.” >> Read more trending news Thomas McClellan, 25, already had admitted to the stabbing death of Luna Younger, the Lansing State Journal reported. During a recorded interview, Detective Charles Buckland...
Reports: Trump’s lawyers probe conflict of interest among Mueller’s investigators 
Reports: Trump’s lawyers probe conflict of interest among Mueller’s investigators 

President Donald Trump’s legal team is evaluating potential conflicts of interest among the investigators hired by special counsel Robert S. Mueller, according to several reports. >> Read more trending news The New York Times reported that the president’s lawyers are digging into the professional and political backgrounds of Mueller&rsquo...
At Issue: Is closing Peachtree-Pine shelter solution for homelessness?
At Issue: Is closing Peachtree-Pine shelter solution for homelessness?

The Atlanta City Council approved funding for a plan to curb homelessness in the inner city. A $26 million bond for housing, shelter space and other resources to help the homeless population will be added to $25 million already promised by the United Way. About $7.6 million in funding from the Homeless Oppportunity bond will be used for the acquisition...
'Armed, dangerous’ shooting suspect ID’d; bloody note left near scene
'Armed, dangerous’ shooting suspect ID’d; bloody note left near scene

A 30-year-old man was shot in the face and a 14-year-old boy was shot in the back just outside Snellville city limits Thursday morning, Gwinnett County police said. The 30-year-old victim, Andre Devost, was flown to Grady Memorial Hospital after he and the 14-year-old were driven to Eastside Medical Center in a private vehicle. Both are expected to...
More Stories