By Bob Allen
The state of Georgia wants to move forward with the execution of a convicted murderer whose impending death March 2 was postponed over concerns about the drugs being used for her lethal injection.
The Georgia Department of Corrections asked the U.S. District Court in northern Georgia to reject Kelly Ann Gissendaner’s complaint that the mental anguish caused by her botched execution amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.
Prison officials decided not to carry out Gissendaner’s execution when the pentobarbital solution prepared to kill her appeared cloudy. After testing, corrections officials said there was nothing wrong with the drug, and the appearance was because the solution was stored at too cold a temperature and was starting to crystallize.
They claim that several 11th hour requests for reprieve, including an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, simply rehashed arguments by Gissendaner’s lawyers already rejected by other courts.
Further, officials argue, Gissendaner’s execution was not “botched,” as she claims, because it never took place. As to the uncertainty of knowing if and when she was to die, officials said Gissendaner’s execution warrant was clear that it could be carried out any time between Feb. 25 and March 4.
Gissendaner, 46, convicted of plotting her husband’s 1997 murder for insurance money and to get him out of the way so she could be with her boyfriend, received an outpouring of support from Atlanta-area clergy who knew her as a student in a prison seminary studies program sponsored by a consortium of schools including Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology, affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
Supporters say Gissendaner, who now ministers to women in prison and is credited with preventing suicides, isn’t the same person as the 30-year-old murderess convicted of planning the February 1997 stabbing death of her husband, Doug, whose body went undiscovered in the woods for nearly two weeks. She has her own Twitter hashtag, #kellyonmymind.