Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tennessee: Female to be Executed?

Gaile Owens has been in prison for 25 years. On September 28, she is to be executed for the 1985 contract murder of her husband. It is essentially up to Gov. Phil Bredesen.Owens is said to be "extremely remorseful and regretful." She has retained the services of a high-profile Nashville attorney, George Barrett, and has the support of singer-songwriter Marshall Chapman. One may also visit a website supporting her cause: www.friendsofgaile.com. The goal is not a full and unconditional pardon, but a mere commutation of sentence.

Barrett claims Tennessee has convicted 26 women for either killing or arranging for the death of their husbands and none of them received the death penalty. Indeed, Owens would be the first female executed in Tennessee in more than a century.  It is not known if the other 26 victims were beat 21 times with a tire iron. He also claims Owens "has battered woman syndrome" and it is an "ideal situation for the governor to use his constitutional powers to grant commutation.” Most interesting is the fact that Owens was not allowed to plead guilty at trial. See story here.

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