In Memoriam: Kelly Gissendaner

Kelly Gissendaner was killed by lethal injection in the state of Georgia at 12:21 a.m.  Wednesday September 30, 2015. She was 47 years old and the mother of three. Gissendaner was convicted of planning but not carrying out her husband’s murder in 1997. Her boyfriend at the time carried out the murder. In a plea bargain, he got a prison sentence and will be eligible for parole. Despite pleas even from Pope Francis, Gissendaner’s sentence was carried out.

While in prison, Gissendaner earned a certificate in theology. She embraced the Christian faith. She cultivated a friendship with theologian Jurgen Moltmann, famous for the Theology of Hope. Gissendaner also helped troubled inmates including those on suicide watch.

Marcus Easly is a retired police officer who became a criminal justice professor. He took students to visit the prison so they would see the reality of it. In the course of things, he became friends with Gissendaner and her family. Easly, along with Gissendaner’s daughter, Kayla, spoke of Gissendaner “being killed.”

A governor’s aide recently told him, “We prefer you to say ‘executed.'”

Easley responded, “I know what you want me to use, but you’re gonna have five men strap a helpless woman down onto a gurney and pump her full of drugs till she’s dead. What else are you gonna call that?”

Gissendaner sang Amazing Grace up to the end.

I am wondering about this death. It sickens me.  I’m stunned that I live in a country in which the legal system has the power and the right to kill someone, especially someone who has not killed. This is well beyond “an eye for an eye.”  But where is the outrage?  Where are the people crowding the streets in protest?  Where is the social media outcry?

Our government, of the people, by the people, for the people, has killed Gissendaner. In my name. In your name. It’s wrong. It’s evil. It’s barbaric. And this must end.

May Amazing Grace transform us as it did Gissendaner.

In Memoriam: The Death Penalty

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