Owen was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole once he has served 25 years, while Kelly Gissendaner rejected a similar plea deal and went to trial.
She is scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Fletcher said he is arguing that Gissendaner should be spared based on "the disproportionate nature of Ms. Gissendaner's sentence when compared to that of her co-defendant, Gregory Owen, who actually stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death. Mr. Owen will be eligible for parole in seven years. Ms. Gissendaner was not present when Mr. Gissendaner was killed, but she is scheduled to be executed in less than a week."
In the unanimous 2000 opinion, the seven justices wrote that death was an appropriate sentence for Gissendaner because she was the “moving force behind the murder and even insisted upon murder when her co-conspirator suggested divorce instead.” The justices also wrote in the opinion she stood to gain financially from her husband’s death by collecting on a life insurance policy and would get their $84,000 house and she tried to find someone who, for $10,000, would beat beat up prosecution witnesses and also claim responsibility for her husband’s murder.
“We concluded that her sentence was proportionate to her role in the crime. I was wrong,” Fletcher wrote.
The former chief justice also said Kelly Gissendaner's ministry in prison and the help she has provided other inmates in despair are reasons Gissendaner should be spared.