Execution date set for Tennessee woman

Monday, April 19, 2010 at 5:14pm
Staff reports

After denying a request to have her death sentence commuted to life in prison, the Tennessee Supreme Court on Monday set an execution date for Gaile K. Owens.

Unless Gov. Phil Bredesen intercedes on her behalf, Owens will be executed at 10 p.m. Sept. 28 at Riverbend Maximum Security prison.

“We are disappointed in the Supreme Court’s ruling,” George Barrett, Owens’ commutation attorney, said. “The life of Gaile Owens still hangs in the balance. We now look to Gov. Bredesen in hopes that he will commute her sentence to life in prison so we can avoid another first for Tennessee — the execution of a battered woman.”

Owens’ legal team and supporters will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 20, at the law offices of Barrett, Johnston & Parsley to discuss the Supreme Court’s order regarding Owens’ commutation request.

In its request to have an execution date set, the state alleged that Owens had completed the standard three-tier appeals process. But Owens’ legal team responded to the request by asking the court to vacate her death sentence and commute it to life in prison.

“After carefully considering Ms. Owens’ request that we modify her sentence to life, we respectfully decline to do so because this court does not have the authority, under Tenn. S. Ct. R. 12.4(A) or any state statute or court precedent, to grant this relief at this stage of the proceeding,” the ruling stated.

Owens has been on death row since she was convicted in Shelby County of accessory before the fact in the 1985 murder of her husband, Ronald Owens. She entered prison in February 1986. Sidney Porterfield, the man who was convicted of killing her husband, was also sentenced to death.

10 Comments on this post:

By: reader76 on 4/19/10 at 8:32

As a minor aside, the only Eve Martin I could find online who died in TN in 1820 was murdered in Campbell County. ??

By: RealityRosie on 4/20/10 at 7:02

As a woman who experienced ptsd from one of my marriages, I know how hard it is to deal with a toxic man. It kills part of you down deep inside, and it makes all relationships difficult in the trust area. I thought often how good it would be for this person to just die, but I never tried to kill him. And getting him out of my life was a matter of prayer, not murder.

I don't know how I feel about this lady. I understand her pain, but not her actions. I am against the death penalty also, because of my religion and of my certainty that by studying criminals, we may learn how to allow fewer of them to become criminals. Also, it is just a matter of karma.

By: Kosh III on 4/20/10 at 7:04

She will get no mercy from Bredesen.

By: bfra on 4/20/10 at 7:12

What has she done to deserve mercy?

By: gigibagoly@yahoo.com on 4/20/10 at 7:35

who is the comunist in your news who do not let my mesage in coments to be seen you are a homosexual, you do not let the truth to be seen, this is a ofend of a freedom, i hoppe the woman gets her desire for $100 million you KGB from tennessian.

By: not_guilty on 4/20/10 at 8:07

Has Phil Bredesen's body count exceeded Paul Reid's yet?

By: yogiman on 4/20/10 at 8:25

Why did she not leave her husband when he was beating her? Was killing easier?

By: pswindle on 4/20/10 at 9:50

This is the prime case of a woman being abused in the worse way, and death was her only way out. If she had left him, can you think of what he would have done to her? Come on, Governor give her a stay.

By: dargent7 on 4/20/10 at 10:12

Ok, a little math here. In prison since 1986, in jail for a year before. So, 25 years behind bars now 57. Her "life" is a waste.
Costing US/ Tenn. taxpayers $35,000 a year...= $875,000. For what? To be executed or her sentence commuted. She "helps" other battered women? So do other agencies on the "outside".
Another 20 years in prison at $30,000= $600,000. That's $1.5 million for someone who hired another lowlife to kill.
The city's broke, the state is broke, and the nation is broke.
We, as a people, have to start somewhere to save money for schools, libraries, and hospitals.
The bloated, ineffective, ridiculous prison system is a good place to start.

By: msnyder on 7/6/10 at 12:55

Pswindle writes "death was her only way out".

Come on. Murder is NEVER the only solution.

Abuse is never an excuse. Mary Winkler should be in prison.