New execution date set for only woman on Georgia's death row

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ATLANTA (AP) -- The only woman on Georgia's death row is scheduled to be executed next week, more than six months after her previously scheduled execution was called off at the last minute because of a problem with the lethal execution drugs.

A judge on Friday set a seven-day execution window that starts Sept. 29 for Kelly Renee Gissendaner, 47, and Department of Corrections Commissioner Homer Bryson set her execution for 7 p.m. that night at the state prison in Jackson, the department announced Monday.

If the execution happens, Gissendaner will be the first woman executed by the state in 70 years. She was convicted of murder in the February 1997 slaying of her husband, Douglas Gissendaner. Prosecutors said she conspired with her lover, Gregory Owen, who stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death. Owen, who took a plea deal and testified against Gissendaner, is serving a life sentence and he will be eligible for parole in 2022.

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New execution date set for only woman on Georgia's death row
Wendi Andriano shows how she pulled a phone cord that was wrapped around her neck during testimony in her murder trial Thursday, Oct. 28, 2004 in Maricopa County Superior Court in Mesa, Ariz. Andriano is accused of killing her terminally ill husband in 2000. (AP Photo/Tim Hacker, Pool)
Defendant Shawna Forde listens during opening arguments in her murder trial in Pima County Superior Court in Tucson, Ariz., on Tuesday Jan. 25, 2011. Forde is charged with first-degree murder in the May 2009 killings of 29-year-old Raul Flores and his 9-year-old daughter Brisenia at their Arivaca home. Prosecutors contend that the 42-year-old Forde thought Flores was a drug dealer. They claim she recruited a group to raid Flores' house for drugs, cash and guns to help fund her border protection group. (AP Photo/Greg Bryan, Pool)
Socorro Caro listens as former Ventura County Medical Examiner Warren Lovell testifies as an expert witness in her murder trial at Ventura County Superior Court, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2001, in Ventura, Calif. The defense used Lovell's testimony to further their claim that Caro did not shoot herself as the prosecution contends. Caro is accused of killing three of her four children in 1999. (AP Photo/Stephen Osman, Pool)
Susan Eubanks pauses from reading her lengthy statement to wipe tears during her sentencing hearing Wednesday, Oct. 13, 1999, in Vista, Calif. Eubanks, the admitted killer of her four sons, was sentenced by Judge Joan Weber to the death penalty. At right is Bill Rafael, one of her attorneys. (AP Photo/Charlie Neuman, POOL)
File--Veronica Gonzales, accused with her husband of murdering their niece Genny Rojas with scalding water, sits in a San Diego Courtroom in November, 1995. During the current trial of the couple their ten-year-old son has testified against them. It is believed to be the first time a child has ever testified against his parents in a death penalty case. (AP Photo/Union Tribune, Jerry McClard)
Lisa Montgomery sits before a federal judge in an artist rendering of her first hearing in U.S. Federal Court in Kansas City, Kan., Monday, Dec. 20, 2004. Montgomery is charged in the death of Bobbie Jo Stinnett, of Skidmore, Mo. (AP Photo/John Davis Carroll)
Sandi Dawn Nieves, 34, listens during a court appearance, Monday, July 13, 1998 in San Fernando, Calif., Municipal Court. Her arraignment for the killing of her four daughters was postponed till July 28, for an undisclosed reason. Nieves is being held without bail. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Mother Sandi Nieves in a family photo with her son and four daughters. She took the witness stand in San Fernando court on Monday and denied that she killed her four daughters in their Saugus home last year. They are pictured here in this family photo, along with her. The son, survived. (Photo by David Bohrer/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Antoinette Frank is escorted by police out of the Kim Anh Restaurant in New Orleans Thursday, Sept. 7, 1995. The jury at the first-degree murder trial of Antoinette Frank heard a tape recording Thursday in which the former policewoman admitted shooting two workers at a Vietnamese restaurant, where her former New Orleans Police Dept. partner also was killed. The statements, which cover almost two hours of interview, overshadowed a visit by the judge, jury and survivors from both families to the restaurant Thursday afternoon. (The Times-Picayune/Ted Jackson)
Blanche Taylor Moore, left, reacts with her attorney David Tamer as she is sentenced to death in Winston-Salem, N.C., in this 1990 photo. Moore was convicted of murdering her boyfriend, Raymond Reid, and is appealing her conviction with allegations against Tamer, the prosectutor and the presiding judge in the case. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Angela Darlene McAnulty sits in a Lane County Courtroom on the first day for presenting evidence in the sentencing phase of her murder trial in the death of her daughter Jeanette Maples, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011 in Eugene, Ore.. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch, Pool)
This 2009 photo provided by Tennessee Department of Correction shows Christa Gail Pike. Authorities in Tennessee say two men, including a former prison guard, have been arrested in a plot to break out Tennessee's lone female death row inmate, Christa Gail Pike. (AP Photo/Tennessee Department of Correction)
In this April 13, 2010 photo, Linda Carty, 51, who moved from St. Kitts in the British Virgin Islands to the U.S., poses for a photo at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Mountain View Unit outside Gatesville, Texas. Carty, a 51-year-old British grandmother convicted of murdering her 20-year-old neighbor Joana Rodriguez and kidnapping her newborn son, Ray, will soon get a date with the executioner, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected her last appeal on Monday May 3, 2010 by declining to review her case. It is scary," she told the AP recently from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Mountain View Unit near Gatesville. "You're talking about terminating my life for something I know for myself I didn't do. I'm supposed to be this bad criminal." (AP Photo/Michael Graczyk)
Darlie Routier, 26, of Rowlett, Texas, sits during an examination of evidence hearing in a Dallas, courtroom Wednesday, June 26, 1996. Routier faces two counts of capital murder in the June 6 slayings of her sons, 6-year-old Devon and 5-year-old Damon. She is being held on $1 million bond at the Lew Sterrett Justice Center. Routier claims that an intruder stabbed the brothers while they slept in the living room and then stabbed her before fleeing. (AP Photo/Ron Heflin)
FILE--Texas has seven women currently on death row at the Mountain View Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, in Gatesville, Texas. The list includes names and when they arrived at the facilities following their sentencing: Darlie Routier, scheduled to arrive Feb. 5, 1997; Pamela Lynn Perillo, arrived Sept. 4, 1980; Karla Faye Tucker, arrived Dec. 18, 1984; Betty Lou Beets, arrived Oct. 14, 1985; Frances Elaine Newton, arrived Nov. 17, 1988; Erica Yvonne Sheppard, arrived April 26, 1995; and Cathy Lynn Henderson, arrived June 1, 1995. (AP Photos, files)

Gissendaner's supporters on Saturday released a video featuring two of their client's three children. Dakota and Kayla Gissendaner talk in the video about overcoming their intense anger at their mother and the difficult journey to forgiving her.

"Forgiving our mother was the best way to truly honor our dad's memory," Dakota Gissendaner, who was 5 when his father died, said in the video.

"My brothers and I have dealt with our anger toward our mother and her role in dad's death in different ways, but we are united in our hope that she won't be executed. We've lost our dad. We can't imagine losing our mom too," Kayla Gissendaner, who was 7 when her father died, wrote in a statement that accompanied the video.

Gissendaner was previously scheduled for execution on Feb. 25, but that was delayed because of a threat of winter weather. Her execution was reset for March 2, but corrections officials postponed that execution "out of an abundance of caution" because the execution drug appeared "cloudy."

Georgia corrections officials temporarily suspended executions in the state until a drug analysis could be done. In April, they released lab reports, a sworn statement from a pharmacological expert hired by the state and a short video showing a syringe of clear liquid with chunks of a white solid floating in the solution.

Corrections officials have said the most likely cause of the formation of solids in the compounded pentobarbital was shipping and storage at a temperature that was too cold, but they noted that storage at a low temperature does not always cause pentobarbital to precipitate.

The Department of Corrections does not currently have pentobarbital on hand but will obtain it before the execution date, spokeswoman Gwendolyn Hogan said in an email. She did not immediately return phone messages Monday and did not respond when asked several times by email whether the drug would come from the same compounding pharmacy that provided the problematic pentobarbital earlier this year.

Gissendaner's lawyers had filed a lawsuit in March saying the period of uncertainty after her execution was postponed, not knowing whether the state would try to proceed again before the execution window expired and what drugs it might use, amounted to "unconstitutional torment and uncertainty." They also raised questions about the quality of the lethal injection drug the state would be able to get in the future.

A federal judge last month dismissed that lawsuit, and Gissendaner's lawyers have asked him to reconsider.

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