Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tennessee: Commutation of Sentence

Gov. Phil Bredesen has commuted the death sentence of Gaile W. Owens, who was convicted in 1986 of hiring another man to kill her husband, to life in prison. It is reported that the decision was based on the fact that "Owens had agreed to a plea bargain that was later rescinded and might have been abused by her husband." Bredesen also noted that in "nearly all the similar cases" the result was a life sentences. Owens could be eligible for parole as soon as 2012.

Owens's clemency application was supported by former Tennessean newspaper publisher and editor John Seigenthaler, Americana singer-songwriter Marshall Chapman and noted civil rights attorney George Barrett. See story and considerable detail on the case here and here. Tennessee has not executed a woman in 200 years!

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