Gissendaner was scheduled to be executed March 2 after she had exhausted her appeals and the state board of pardons and parole had denied her clemency. The 46-year-old woman is scheduled to be executed for the 1997 murder of her husband if she is executed, Gissendaner will be the first woman Georgia has executed since 1945 and the 16th woman put to death nationwide since executions resumed in 1976.
Gissendaner was condemned for planning her husband’s murder and persuading her lover, Gregory Owen, to carry it out. Owen, who pleaded guilty and helped prosecute Gissendaner, is serving a life sentence and is eligible for parole.
For the second time in four years Georgia has decided to put a moratorium on executions after questions surfaced about the origin and effectiveness of increasingly hard to get lethal-injection drugs.
The Georgia Department of Corrections announced the day after Gissendaner's execution was halted that it was postponing it indefinitely. Brian Keith Terrell's upcoming execution was also put on hold.
The state wants to test its supply of the sedative pentobarbital to be sure it’s effective. A prison system pharmacist said the dosage prepared to execute Gissendaner gthagt night night looked “cloudy,” and documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows the prison system may have been confused about which batch of the drug had been tested.
Staff writer Rhonda Cook contributed to this story.
Please return to AJC.com for updates.