Georgia Execution of First Woman In 70 Years Is Postponed Due To Weather

ht_kelly_renee_gissendaner_death_row_float_jc_150219_16x9_992The execution of Kelly Renee Gissendaner, 46, had a rare interruption this week. The first female prisoner to be executed by the state of Georgia in 70 years was halted not by an order of the governor or the Supreme Court. It was delayed on account of “inclimate weather.” I have not seen such a “called for weather” delay in an execution, which is generally set by order or statute as occurring on a set day.


The Gissendaner case is an interesting example of the risks inherent in trial. The man who actually killed Gissendaner’s husband Douglas Gissendaner in 1997 was her lover. She was found to have conspired in the killing with Gregory Owen and she actually went to the scene soon after the killing to confirm his death. She then helped burn his car and later appeared on television begging for help in locating her husband. Her lover eventually confessed in interrogation and took a deal for life imprisonment. The same deal was offered to Gissendaner. However, her trial attorney (not without good reason and with her consent) believed that it was rare for a jury to sentence a women to death and that, since she did not actually do the killing, it was unlikely that she would be sentenced to death. The gamble proved wrong when she was sentenced to death. However, I think the calculated risk was not unreasonable. The trial attorney clearly believed that the chance of an acquittal (no matter how slim) was still worth attempting since under the plea agreement she would be looking at life regardless.

The 57 women on death row represent only 1.88 percent of the total population.

I cannot remember a prior execution suspended for weather as opposed to some mechanical problem. The Wednesday execution will be rescheduled for Monday, given Gissendaner an added weekend.

Gissendaner’s last meal has generated some attention. The final meal was quite detailed, including two Burger King Whoppers with fries, popcorn, cornbread, a salad with Paul Newman buttermilk dressing, lemonade, and cherry vanilla ice cream.

That last meal however is a virtual slim fast compared to Gary Carl Simmons Jr. in Mississippi who was executed in 2012 after ordering a Pizza Hut supreme deep dish pizza, a family size bag of Doritos, two large strawberry milkshakes, two cherry Cokes, a super-sized order of McDonald’s fries, and two pints of strawberry ice cream, along with sides of parmesan cheese, nacho cheese, ranch dressing, and a side of jalapeños. The meal weighed in at over 14,000 calories. One big difference is that women often order salads for their last meal.

56 thoughts on “Georgia Execution of First Woman In 70 Years Is Postponed Due To Weather”

  1. Wait!!! Along w/ $40-50, the killers also stole a Zenith transistor radio. I don’t want Clarence Darrow doing his lame act here again. He’s eaten enough crow for one day.

  2. If the client has money, most lawyers are quite willing to try a case. If the client doesn’t have much money, most lawyers will advise via scaring the client into copping a plea. If a client has money, but the case is unlikely to be winnable, the lawyer will actually work to obtain the best possible deal.

    Of course few lawyers who are doing well (i.e. have been able to attract well-off clients) are likely to be found representing someone from the lower classes.

  3. The weather was an Act of Dog. Dog believed that the Governor would grant a clemency and have her sentence be life without Burger King. Now the Sixth Commandment will be on the Governor’s mind. Thou Shalt Not Kill. No exception for Y’all Can. If the Governor kills this person then he will have his interview with Saint Peter at the Holy Gates to determine whether he is sent to Hell, Heaven or Limbo which is a suburb of Saint Louis called Oakville. With this killing on his record the Governor will probably get Limbo without a Burger King. Or Hell with only a Burger King.

  4. You know you have a good ad campaign when a death row inmates wants your product as a last meal.

  5. When Charles I was being beheaded, he asked the headsman if his axe was indeed sharpened, and cautioned him not to touch its blade so as to potentially dull it. Then both Charles’s and his executioner carefully tucked his long locks inside his cap so as to make sure it was off the neck, ensuring good visibility and a clean strike. Both knew how the execution of his cousin, Mary Stuart, was botched, taking 3 axe blows to finish the job, probably due to her long hair (a wig, yet).

    The coiffing was undoubtedly a touching moment for both men, as well as for the huge crowd that had assembled.

    The weather that day was very cold, but otherwise not inclement.

  6. Since the execution was postponed, does she get another crack at a choice for a last meal? Wonder what gastronomic delights she will demand this time. I hope that she mixes it up a bit and orders some Indian or Mexican fare down in Georgia.

  7. I always say don’t bet what you can’t lose. If she was innocent, it would have been a different story.

    And it seems like a bad idea to set yourself up for indigestion and/or other, um, messy nether region symptoms, as you’re being led away for execution. Because things might come to a head before the execution starts.

    One of the worst betrayals is for someone to be murdered by their own spouse or parent. It’s hubris. That’s why The Shining was such a horrifying movie.

  8. Pete, the enough. I wonder how anyone can eat anything knowing they’re going to be executed shortly thereafter? I guess I could manage a huge slice of chocolate ganache covered cheesecake.

  9. Perhaps she was more attractive in her younger days?

    Right. She used to be a clone of Angelina Jolie. Prison food did this to her. Damn those mashed potatoes!!!

  10. Just a few questions:

    Was that thing pictured really a woman? On what planet? In some parallel universe?

    Was she really married at some point? See all you single gals out there, never give up. Beauty is only skin deep.

    What guy saw her from across a crowded bar and said, MAN, I GOTTA HAVE ME A PIECE OF THAT?

    Oh, the humanity. . .

  11. Has an execution ever been stayed on account of indigestion?

    @DBQ

    “First..WHO would be so overcome with passion so as to be this woman’s adulterous lover, much less agree to murder someone for her!”

    The murder took place 18 years ago. Perhaps she was more attractive in her younger days.

  12. on 1, February 26, 2015 at 10:25 amNick Spinelli
    DBQ, Having worked helping prosecute and incarcerate criminals, their depravity is something the average person cannot understand. Sociopaths do not think like you and I. People kill for chump change, a few bucks. The 2 killer in the classic, In Cold Blood, got $30. They murdered an entire family.

    *************

    Well Nick, you’re true to form:

    Just as I recalled from the Capote book, nothing was stolen. Even the jewelry and the envelope with $2 was left undisturbed. Not to mention that only the two youngest of the four Clutter children were murdered. Not the whole family.

    You were an investigator, right?

    Holcomb, Kan., Nov. 15 [1959] (UPI) — A wealthy wheat farmer, his wife and their two young children were found shot to death today in their home. They had been killed by shotgun blasts at close range after being bound and gagged … There were no signs of a struggle, and nothing had been stolen. The telephone lines had been cut.
    —The New York Times

  13. Interesting that it was delayed for weather – how often has that happened before? I’ve always found it fascinating what people order for their last meals. A lot of ice cream, I’ve noticed.

  14. mespo727272
    Burger King? Sounds like a cry for help!
    =====================================

    Nah, when her muscles relax that one last time, she’s making sure she takes out everybody in the room with her.

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