Executions postponed

posted Mar 3, 2015, 1:42 PM by GFADP staff

As you may know, at 11pm last night, the Georgia Department of Corrections decided not to go forward with killing Kelly Gissendaner because the lethal injection drugs “appeared cloudy.” This happened prior to the US Supreme Court ruling on her final appeals.
 
Moments ago, the Georgia Department of Corrections announced that the executions of Kelly Gissendaner and Brian Terrell have been postponed while an analysis is conducted of the drugs planned for the use in last night’s execution.
 
As you might recall, the Georgia legislature passed the Lethal Injection Secrecy Act in 2013, which makes everything regarding lethal injection in Georgia a state secret. We know that the risk of excruciating torture in lethal injection is real, which is why we warned the legislature that shrouding the lethal injection process in secrecy was dangerous. We strongly believe that Georgia must not be allowed to proceed with the execution unless and until it fully discloses the source and testing of its lethal injection drugs, if at all.
 
We are so grateful to all of you who take every opportunity to raise your voice to oppose EVERY execution in our state. Together, we will continue to fight for the end of this barbaric practice.
 
-GFADP 

Kelly Gissendaner video-please watch and share

posted Mar 1, 2015, 12:19 PM by Kathryn Hamoudah   [ updated Mar 1, 2015, 12:22 PM ]


Kelly Gissendaner from Sema Films on Vimeo.

On Monday, March 2, 2015, the state of Georgia will execute Kelly Gissendaner. But Kelly is no longer the person she was 17 years ago when she asked her boyfriend to kill her husband. Her time in prison has changed her. Her faith in God has changed her. Those who know her now describe a woman who is using her life in prison to mentor at-risk youth. A person who is a calming presence for inmates and and who has helped prevented prison suicides. Because Kelly is behind bars, waiting for her execution, she cannot speak to you herself, but listen to the words she has written.

Execution date set for Brian Terrell

posted Feb 28, 2015, 7:27 PM by Kathryn Hamoudah

Hi all,
 
We're really sorry to share that an execution date has been set for Brian Terrell for March 10 at 7pm.
 
We will share more information once it becomes available.
 
You can read the article from the AJC, here.

As you know, Kelly Gissendaner's execution was rescheduled for Monday, March 2 at 7pm. The New York Times published a wonderful piece on Kelly and her spiritual journey. Please plan to attend a vigil near you: http://www.gfadp.org/vigils.

The rate in which the State of Georgia is pursuing executions is incredibly disturbing, with each execution highlighting serious problems with the system. It is imperative that we continue to speak out and raise our voice high against this barbaric practice. 

Thank you for all that you do each and every day. 

-GFADP

Execution postponed until Monday, March 2 at 7pm

posted Feb 25, 2015, 9:37 AM by Kathryn Hamoudah

The AJC confirmed that Kelly’s execution will not go forward tonight. It has been rescheduled for Monday, March 2 at 7pm
. Vigils tonight are cancelled. Please plan to attend a vigil near you on Monday


Kelly Gissendaner update

posted Feb 24, 2015, 1:52 PM by Kathryn Hamoudah

Friends, 

As you know, Kelly Gissendaner is scheduled to be executed tomorrow, February 25, 2015 at 7pm. Her attorneys presented to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole this morning, asking for clemency. We are still waiting on the board’s decision, which could come this evening or in the morning. 

We are very troubled by the rate in which the State is carrying out executions. If Kelly’s execution goes through, it will be the third one in two months. If clemency is denied, please plan to attend a vigil near you: http://www.gfadp.org/vigils. 

We’ve included an article from the Associated Press below. 

Thank you for all that you do.

-GFADP


Ga. set to execute only female death row inmate this week

By KATE BRUMBACK
Associated Press
Monday, February 23, 2015

ATLANTA (AP) - The daughter of the lone woman on Georgia’s death row is asking the state parole board to grant her mother life in prison instead of the death penalty for plotting to have her father killed - even though she says her dad’s death was “the most painful experience of my life.”

Kelly Renee Gissendaner, 46, is scheduled to die Wednesday at the state prison in Jackson. She was convicted of murder in the February 1997 killing of her husband, Douglas Gissendaner. Prosecutors said she conspired with her boyfriend, Gregory Owen, to kill her husband. If the execution happens, it will be the first time Georgia has executed a woman since 1945.

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles, the only entity in Georgia authorized to commute a death sentence to life in prison, has set a clemency hearing for Tuesday.

Gissendaner told police her husband didn’t return home Feb. 7, 1997, from dinner with friends in Lawrenceville, just outside Atlanta. His burned-out car was found two days later. His body was found about a week after that, roughly a mile from the car, in a remote wooded area. He had been stabbed several times.

“My father’s death was extremely painful for many people, but I’ve recently concluded that in many ways I was the person who was most impacted by his murder,” Kayla Gissendaner, who was 7 when her father was killed, wrote in a statement submitted to the board by her mother’s lawyers.

“The impact of losing my mother would be devastating. I can’t fathom losing another parent,” Kayla Gissendaner continued.

Statements by Kayla Gissendaner and her brother, Dakota, were included in the clemency petition that was declassified by the parole board Monday and made available to the public. They talk about their long emotional journey from a point of bitterness, anger and wanting no contact with their mother to having formed meaningful relationships with her.

Kelly Gissendaner’s oldest child, Brandon, who was 12 when Douglas Gissendaner died, did not submit a statement to the board. He visited her twice recently and she hopes he can find peace and that their relationship grows, her lawyers wrote in the clemency petition.

Kelly and Douglas Gissendaner had a troubled relationship, splitting up and getting back together multiple times, including divorcing and remarrying, according to information provided by the state attorney general’s office. Kelly Gissendaner repeatedly pushed Owen in late 1996 to kill her husband rather than just divorcing him as Owen suggested, prosecutors said.

“Greg was Kelly’s instrument. Greg was her weapon in plunging that knife into Doug Gissendaner, pure and simple,” prosecutors argued, according to a trial transcript quoted in the clemency petition. “Greg Owen was nothing but an instrument to Kelly Gissendaner. She used him.”

Acting on Kelly Gissendaner’s instructions, Owen ambushed Douglas Gissendaner at Gissendaner’s home, forced him to drive to a remote area and stabbed him multiple times, prosecutors said

Investigators looking into Douglas Gissendaner’s killing zeroed in on Owen once they learned of his affair with Kelly Gissendaner. He initially denied involvement, but eventually confessed and implicated Kelly Gissendaner.

Owen, who pleaded guilty and is serving life in prison, testified at Gissendaner’s trial. A jury found Gissendaner guilty and sentenced her to death in 1998.

Prosecutors offered Gissendaner the same plea deal offered to Owen, but she rejected it. Post-conviction testimony from her trial lawyer, Edwin Wilson, gives some insight into why, her lawyers argue. They quote Wilson as saying he didn’t think a jury would sentence Gissendaner to death.

“I guess I thought this because she was a woman and because she did not actually kill Doug,” Wilson is quoted as saying, adding that he should have urged her to take the plea.

Statements by Kayla Gissendaner and her brother, Dakota, were included in the clemency petition that was declassified by the parole board Monday and made available to the public. They talk about their long emotional journey from a point of bitterness, anger and wanting no contact with their mother to having formed meaningful relationships with her.

Kelly Gissendaner’s oldest child, Brandon, who was 12 when Douglas Gissendaner died, did not submit a statement to the board. He visited her twice recently and she hopes he can find peace and that their relationship grows, her lawyers wrote in the clemency petition.

Kelly and Douglas Gissendaner had a troubled relationship, splitting up and getting back together multiple times, including divorcing and remarrying, according to information provided by the state attorney general’s office. Kelly Gissendaner repeatedly pushed Owen in late 1996 to kill her husband rather than just divorcing him as Owen suggested, prosecutors said.

“Greg was Kelly’s instrument. Greg was her weapon in plunging that knife into Doug Gissendaner, pure and simple,” prosecutors argued, according to a trial transcript quoted in the clemency petition. “Greg Owen was nothing but an instrument to Kelly Gissendaner. She used him.”

Acting on Kelly Gissendaner’s instructions, Owen ambushed Douglas Gissendaner at Gissendaner’s home, forced him to drive to a remote area and stabbed him multiple times, prosecutors said

Investigators looking into Douglas Gissendaner’s killing zeroed in on Owen once they learned of his affair with Kelly Gissendaner. He initially denied involvement, but eventually confessed and implicated Kelly Gissendaner.

Owen, who pleaded guilty and is serving life in prison, testified at Gissendaner’s trial. A jury found Gissendaner guilty and sentenced her to death in 1998.

Prosecutors offered Gissendaner the same plea deal offered to Owen, but she rejected it. Post-conviction testimony from her trial lawyer, Edwin Wilson, gives some insight into why, her lawyers argue. They quote Wilson as saying he didn’t think a jury would sentence Gissendaner to death.

“I guess I thought this because she was a woman and because she did not actually kill Doug,” Wilson is quoted as saying, adding that he should have urged her to take the plea.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/feb/23/ga-set-to-execute-only-female-death-row-inmate-thi/?page=2

Thank you and news

posted Feb 16, 2015, 5:20 PM by GFADP staff

Friends,

Thank you so much to those of you came out to lobby day last week. It was a great day as we spoke to our legislators about the problems with the death penalty in our state. Special thanks to our wonderful speakers who joined us for our press conference; State Senator Vincent Fort,  Sara Totonchi Executive Director of the Southern Center for Human Rights, Eric Jacobson with the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities and Joseph Shippen on behalf of the Episcopal Diocese. I’m including a great article on the day, which you can read here. In addition, you can read remarks from Sara and Eric, here and here.

In case you missed it, the Equal Justice Initiative released a groundbreaking report on lynching in America. The New York Times Editorial Board weighed in with a piece entitled,  Lynching as Racial Terrorism. EJI researchers documented 3,959 racial terror lynchings of African Americans in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia between 1877 and 1950 – at least 700 more lynchings of black people in these states than previously reported in the most comprehensive work done on lynching to date.

Also, for one night only, on Saturday, March 21st at 7:30pm at Synchronicity Theatre, there will be a staged reading of  a new play, Beyond Reasonable Doubt: The Troy Davis Project. Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and the Southern Center for Human Rights are among the night’s sponsors. For more information and to buy tickets, click here. 

Thank you for all that you do for justice. 

With hope, 

Kathryn on behalf of GFADP 

Execution warrant set for Kelly Gissendaner

posted Feb 9, 2015, 1:29 PM by GFADP staff

Hi all,

I’m very sorry to share that an execution warrant has been issued for Kelly Gissendaner, the only woman on Georgia’s death row.

We are reaching out to  her attorneys and will be back in touch with more details.

-Kathryn on behalf of GFADP

 

Georgia sets execution date for woman

Updated: 3:35 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9, 2015  |  Posted: 3:11 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9, 2015

By Rhonda Cook - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A Gwinnett County judge on Monday signed an order setting the execution of Kelly Renee Gissendaner for the end of this month, making it possible she will be the first woman Georgia has put to death since 1945.

The execution warrant sets the window for Gissendaner’s lethal injection for the week that starts with Feb. 25. The Department of Corrections sets the specific time, usually at 7 p.m. on the first day that a judge has set aside for the execution to be carried out.

Gissendaner was convicted to persuading her boyfriend to murder her husband, Douglas, in 1997. The killer, Gregory Owen, helped the district attorney with its case against Gissendaner. In exchange, prosecutors did not seek the death penalty against him.

Owen is serving life in prison.

Lena Baker, 44, was electrocuted on March 5, 1945. Georgia has put to death fewer that 10 women, all but Baker in the 1800s.

Baker, a black maid, was covicted of murder by an all-white jury in a one-day trial even though she said she whot her boss in self defense. She said Ernest Knight, a white man, had imprisoned and threatened to shoot her should she try to leave. She shot him with his own gun.

The state pardoned her in 2005.

Join us for GFADP's Lobby Day, 2/10/15

posted Jan 29, 2015, 2:43 PM by GFADP staff

Friends,

 

Are you outraged by the fact that we've already had two executions this year? That those executions were of men with PTSD and Intellectual Disability? Do you want to make sure that Georgia's rigid law for proving intellectual disability is changed? 

 

Join us for Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty's Lobby Day, on Tuesday, February 10, 2015!

 

There, we will talk to our legislators about the many problems with capital punishment in our state. Your participation is key because it's important that Georgia legislators know that the movement to end the death penalty is growing in this state and that it will continue to grow until this cruel and inhumane punishment is no longer used.

 

The lobby training will begin promptly at 9 am at Central Presbyterian Church.  The address is 201 Washington St SW, Atlanta, GA 30303. This is a great training to get the basics on the topics we will be addressing; tips on speaking with your legislators and the legislative processWe will then meet with legislators across the street at the Capitol from 10 am to 11:45 am We will conclude the day with a press conference at at 12 pm (Noon) in the Capitol Rotunda. Please join us for all or part of the day as you are able.

 

For more information and to RSVP please contact us at info@gfadp.org. Please make sure to RSVP so we can get an accurate count of how many people will be joining us.

Together, we can make a difference!

 

With hope,

Kathryn for GFADP



 

Warren Hill

posted Jan 28, 2015, 11:44 AM by Kathryn Hamoudah

Friends,

 

Last night, the State of Georgia executed Warren Hill, a 55 year old man with intellectual disability.

 

Warren was executed because Georgia requires a defendant to prove intellectual disability “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the heaviest burden of proof in the law and Georgia is the only state that requires it.

 

It is absolutely horrifying and unconscionable that Georgia proceeded with this execution despite public outcry. Georgia’s legal system is once again bringing shame and embarrassment to our state, this time by failing to protect those who are most vulnerable. We continue to set the bar for the most inhumane and unjust practices in the country.

 

We are incredibly grateful to the disability justice community for being such a powerful voice and unwavering in their opposition to Warren’s shameful execution, in particular; The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, The Arc of Georgia, The Arc National, American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and All About Developmental Disabilities.

 

Nights like last night are awful and painful. They also remind us of the importance of our work together.  We remain hopeful in knowing that Georgians from all over the state were gathered in solidarity with Warren Hill as the state took his life.  Thank you to each of you who attended a vigil, wrote a letter, or simply kept Warren and his family in your thoughts and prayers. We will continue to organize until the death penalty is abolished once and for all. 

 

If you’re able, please support burial costs for Warren. His parents are elderly and on a fixed income, so the family is seeking donations for a proper burial close to their residence of Anderson, South Carolina. Please contribute if you can: http://www.gofundme.com/km7ap4

 

Join Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty's lobby day, Tuesday, February 10, 2015 as we talk to our legislators about the many problems with capital punishment in our state. Your participation is critical because it's important that Georgia legislators know that the movement to end the death penalty is growing in this state and that it will continue to grow until this cruel and inhumane punishment is no longer used.


Below is a powerful statement from Warren’s attorney, Brian Kammer, our friend, who with his team left no stone unturned fighting for Warren. I’ve also included an article from CNN, which highlights a joint statement from Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP. In addition, here’s an excellent article from The Guardian who has covered Mr. Hill’s case for many years.

 

We are so grateful for all of you who fight for justice each and every day.

 

In solidarity,

Kathryn on behalf of GFADP

  

 

 

Brian Kammer of the Georgia Resource Center:​

"Today, the Court has unconscionably allowed a grotesque miscarriage of justice to occur in Georgia. Georgia has been allowed to execute an unquestionably intellectually disabled man, Warren Hill, in direct contravention of the Court’s clear precedent prohibiting such cruelty.  The intellectual disability community, which has strongly supported Mr. Hill's case for many years, joined his legal team in the belief that the Supreme Court would step in and prevent Georgia’s flagrant disregard of the Constitution on behalf of the rights of people with disabilities. Instead, tonight, Georgia will unconstitutionally execute Mr. Hill, a man with the emotional and cognitive ability of a young boy.  This execution is an abomination.  Like the execution of Jerome Bowden in 1986, the memory of Mr. Hill’s illegal execution will live on as a moral stain on the people of this State and on the courts that allowed this to happen.” 

 

- Brian Kammer, attorney for Warren Hill and Director of the Georgia Resource Center, January 27, 2015

Press Release: U.S SUPREME COURT: STOP TODAY’S GA EXECUTION OF MAN WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY

posted Jan 27, 2015, 9:48 AM by GFADP staff   [ updated Jan 27, 2015, 10:26 AM ]


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