Georgia to execute first woman since 1945

Kelly Renee Gissendaner, who was convicted of murdering her husband in 1997, is set to be executed at 7 p.m. Monday. 

The only woman on Georgia's death row is set to be executed Monday.

Kelly Renee Gissendaner, who's 46, is set to die at 7 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson after the execution was delayed last week.

Gissendaner was convicted of murder in the February 1997 stabbing death of her husband. Prosecutors said she plotted his death with her boyfriend, Gregory Owen. Owen pleaded guilty and is serving a life sentence.

If Gissendaner's execution happens, she'll be the first woman executed in Georgia since 1945 and only the 16th woman put to death nationwide since the Supreme Court in 1976 allowed the death penalty to resume.

She was originally set to be executed last Wednesday, but the Department of Corrections postponed her execution because of projected winter weather conditions.

Gissendaner's lawyers have argued that it's unfair to execute her when it was her lover who actually stabbed her husband — and he got only life in prison.

A group of clergy, family, friends and supporters gathered Sunday at the William Cannon Chapel at Emory University to pray for Gissendaner. Gissendaner's three adult children sat in the front row, reported WXIA-TV

A number of clergy members have met with Gissendaner in her 18 years of incarceration. They say she's a changed person, noting that she's graduated a year-long theology program. They say she received a certificate and even did some preaching and teaching behind bars. They have also circulated a signed letter asking for a last minute stay of execution so that her life is spared.

"She cannot undo what she's done," said the Rev. Cathy Zappa, the director of the prison theology program. "She cannot take anyone's pain away. But she's living her life in a way that shows she takes what she's done very seriously and she is trying to turn her life to good."

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