GEORGIA (USA): KELLY RENEE GISSENDANER EXECUTION DELAYED
March 2, 2015: Georgia postponed the execution of Kelly Renee Gissendaner late today because of concerns about the drug to be used in the lethal injection. The pentobarbital was sent to an independent lab to check its potency and the test came back at an acceptable level, but during subsequent checks it appeared cloudy,
Georgia Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gwendolyn Hogan said. Corrections officials called the pharmacist and decided to postpone the execution "out of an abundance of caution," she said. No new date was given.
Pentobarbital is the only drug used in Georgia executions. For other recent executions, the state has gotten the drug from a compounding pharmacy, but officials did not immediately respond late Monday when asked if that was the source in this case. Georgia law prohibits the release of any identifying information about the source of execution drugs or any entity involved in an execution. The execution was put on hold while officials waited for the U.S. Supreme Court to either grant or deny a stay requested by her lawyers. The court had still not ruled more than five hours later. Her lawyers were seeking a delay pending a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in another case out of Oklahoma.
Gissendaner, 46, was originally set to die on Feb. 25, but the execution was postponed ahead of a winter storm forecast to hit many areas with several inches of snow. The execution was reset for today.
Gissendaner was sentenced to death in 1998 for the February 7, 1997 stabbing death of her husband, Douglas Gissendaner, in order to cash in a life insurance. Prosecutors said she plotted his death with her boyfriend, Gregory Owen. Owen pleaded guilty and received a life prison sentence with eligibility for parole after 25 years. He testified at Gissendaner's trial. Prosecutors offered Gissendaner the same plea deal that was offered to Owen, but she turned it down. Owen will be up for parole in eight years after accepting a life sentence and testifying against her.
Georgia's Supreme Court voted 5-2 Monday to deny her last ditch appeal, citing Owen's testimony that she pushed for murder rather than divorce so that she could get her husband's insurance money. (Source: Associated Press, 02/03/2015)