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The state of Georgia executed its first female inmate in 70 years Wednesday (Sept. 30), despite a stay of execution plea from the Pope. Kelli Gissendaner, a 47-year-old mother of three sentenced to death for plotting her husband’s murder, was lethally injected at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison.

Gissendaner was the only woman on death row in the state. She sang “Amazing Grace” before she died, and requested a final prayer. She was sentenced to death in 1997 for orchestrating the murder of Doug Gissendaner.

Reports ABC News:

The execution came after Georgia’s Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court and a federal appeals court all denied requests for a stay of execution.

Gissendaner, who was convicted of orchestrating her husband’s murder almost 20 years ago, died by lethal injection at 12:21 a.m. Wednesday.

Last-minute appeals had been filed to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and that state Supreme Court, all of which rejected her motions.

In a 5-to-2 decision, the state Supreme Court denied Gissendaner’s motion for stay of execution and dismissed her constitutional challenge of her sentence as “disproportionate.” the State Seme Court on Tuesday denied last-minute requests for a stay of execution.

During his trip to America last week, Pope Francis urged the prison board to commute Gissender’s sentence in a statement written on his behalf. “While not wishing to minimize the gravity of the crime for which Ms. Gissendaner has been convicted, and while sympathizing with the victims, I nonetheless implore you, in consideration of the reasons that have been expressed to your board, to commute the sentence to one that would better express both justice and mercy.”

Gissendaner made her final appeal last week, arguing that that the death sentence was unfair since her lover, who killed Doug, got a life behind bars.

She was also worried that the lethal injections drugs might not work properly (it’s happened before), and noted that she’s a changed woman since finding religion.

The victim’s family argued against her appeal stating that she “planned and executed” the murder. “As the murderer, she’s been given more rights and opportunity over the last 18 years than she ever afforded to Doug who, again, is the victim here,” the family said in a statement. “She had no mercy, gave him no rights, no choices, nor the opportunity to live his life. His life was not hers to take.”

Photo: screenshot

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