#kellyonmymind: Georgia woman faces death row after years of jail


Max Onofre

Although today’s top trending topic on Facebook has been #NationalCoffeeDay, many are trending a topic with a more serious note: #kellyonmymind. Today the final verdict came down for a Georgia woman, Kelly Gissendaner, as she faces death row.

Gissendaner is the first woman in 70 years to face execution after being sentenced to death for the murder of her husband in 1997. Gissendaner has escaped the execution previously; once in February due to a winter storm and the second, in March because of the concerns over the drug used in lethal injections. However, this time, after deliberation and a letter from an archbishop on the Pope’s behalf, she is set to be executed on Tuesday, Sept.  29.

The application for clemency focused on the fact that Gissendaner had received a more severe sentence than her lover Greg Owen, with whom she planned the murder. Owen currently serves life without parole.

Gissendaner’s children forgave her and helped her appeal, but the family is still split, as her husband’s relatives did not believe she deserved to live. In a statement they made public, Douglas Gissendaner’s relatives wrote that they had been seeking justice for him for 18 years, and finally felt that it was to be carried out.

 “As the murderer, she’s been given more rights and opportunity over the last 18 years than she ever afforded Doug who, again, is the victim here. She has no mercy, gave him no rights, no choices, nor the opportunity to live his life. His life was not hers to take.”

Gissendaner was known during her time in prison as a model prisoner, counseling other inmates and completed a theology program in Emory University while behind bars. She has already requested her final meal as of last week: cheese dip with chips, Texas fajita nachos and a diet frosted lemonade.

Doug Gissendaner’s family has asked the public to not focus on Kelly Gissendaner but instead on Doug, as he was the victim, who they describe as “a friendly, trusting, good-hearted soul with a smile that will never be forgotten.”