Kelly Gissendaner

posted Sep 30, 2015, 5:06 AM by GFADP staff

Last night, the State of Georgia executed Kelly Gissendaner.

Kelly was executed despite the fact that she did not physically carry out the crime. Her co-defendant will be eligible for parole in 7 years. This is the first time in the modern death penalty era (post-1976) that Georgia has executed an individual who did not kill the victim and was not there when the victim was killed.

It is absolutely horrifying and unconscionable that Georgia proceeded with this execution despite public outcry from Pope Francis, Former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Fletcher and many others. 

We are so grateful to the incredible organizers with #kellyonmymind, a group of religious leaders who know and love Kelly. Their tenacity and courage to keep fighting, propelled Kelly’s case into the spotlight and allowed her story of transformation and redemption to be known around the world.  The outgrowth of her journey is seen vividly in the care and support she has offered to those who were incarcerated with her who were placed in lockdown near her cell, often because of their behavioral problems or mental illness. Many of these women have come forward to share their experiences of how Kelly was their only strength and support during their darkest days in prison. Some who had attempted or were contemplating suicide credit Kelly with saving their lives. All say that Kelly challenged them to change their lives while they were in prison, offering encouragement, guidance, and love when they needed it most.

We learned that Kelly’s kids had to choose between testifying at the parole board or seeing their mom. This is not justice. This is horrifying and unjust. This is the death penalty.

Nights like tonight 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 Kelly as the state took her life.  Thank you to each of you who attended a vigil, wrote a letter, or simply kept Kelly and her family in your thoughts and prayers. We will continue to organize until the death penalty is abolished once and for all. 

The State of Georgia plans to issue warrants for 7 other people. To those of you who have been moved by Kelly's case-we need you.

Below is a statement from Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and organizers with #kellyonmymind.

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

In solidarity,

Kathryn on behalf of GFADP