After a five-hour delay, Georgia death row inmate Kelly Gissendaner was executed early Wednesday morning for her role in the killing of her husband.
Gissendaner was scheduled to die at 7 p.m. Tuesday, but her lawyers filed appeals to state and federal courts in her final hours to try to spare her life.
Her children had to make a heart-wrenching choice Tuesday: go see their mother one last time, or make a final appeal in front of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles.
“We chose to try and save her life, and they still denied us,” daughter Kayla Gissendaner said outside the state’s execution facility in Jackson.
Even a recent letter on behalf of the Pope wasn’t enough to sway the parole board.
So Gissendaner’s legal team filed three appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court — all of which were denied.
When Gissendaner finally walked to the execution chamber after midnight, she saw the witnesses through a window and began sobbing, witness Jeff Hullinger of WXIA-TV said.
She then made a final statement “apologizing to an amazing man that lost his life because of her,” Hullinger said.
Gissendaner was convicted of murder for persuading her lover to kill her husband in 1997. She became Georgia’s first female prisoner to be executed in 70 years.
As Gissendaner was being executed, the Gwinnett Daily Post reported, she sang “Amazing Grace.”