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Georgia Dept of Corrections
Death Row

Woman's execution delayed because of problems with the lethal injection

Kelly Gissendaner was due to be put to death last night.

THE US STATE of Georgia late last night temporarily delayed the execution of the sole woman on its death row, convicted of conspiring to murder her husband, because of problems with the lethal injection drug.

State authorities announced a delay in the execution of Kelly Gissendaner, who has been on death row for 16 years, but did not announce a new date for it.

The 46-year-old had been due to be put to death at 1900 local time (0000 GMT) in the city of Jackson, but the execution was delayed after the team due to carry out the procedure found fault with the drug to be used.

Georgia uses a chemical called pentobarbital to execute death row inmates and the sample to be used Monday night was tested and given a green light by an independent laboratory.

Concerns about the drug

But the team assigned to carry out Gissendaner’s execution raised concerns because it reportedly had a cloudy appearance and out of precaution, the execution was postponed, state penitentiary system spokeswoman Gwendolyn Hogan in an email to AFP.

Gissendaner’s execution had already been delayed for several days because of wintery weather in Georgia.

She would have become the 16th female prisoner to be executed in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated nationwide in 1976, compared with 1,387 men who have been put to death during that period, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Gissendaner was sentenced to death for recruiting her then-lover to kill her husband Doug in February 1997 in order to collect on his life insurance payout.

The Gissendaners had separated several times and even divorced before remarrying.

The boyfriend, Gregory Owen, pleaded guilty and testified against Gissendaner in 1998, thus avoiding a sentence of life in prison.

Gissendaner’s lawyer had told her not to plead guilty since she was a woman and had not killed her husband with her own hands.

Last week, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied the inmate clemency, despite having heard 21 testimonies in her favor, including from two of her children. Gissendaner’s legal team has asked the board to reconsider its decision.

Her legal team has also lodged an appeal with the US Supreme Court, which has not yet issued a ruling.

- © AFP, 2015

Read: Slow botched execution of Oklahoma murderer ruled constitutional by US court>

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