Female inmate given more time to fight execution

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at 4:36pm
Gaile-K.-Owens.jpg
Gaile K. Owens

Tennessee's Supreme Court Tuesday granted an extension of time to attorneys for convicted killer Gaile Owens, whom the state intends to put to death for her part in the 1985 murder-for-hire plot that left her husband dead. Owens' team now has until Feb. 5 to respond to Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper's motion to set an execution date.

Owens' lawyers, Kelley Henry and Gretchen Swift of the Federal Public Defender's office, asked the Supreme Court Monday to grant them more time to present their case that the death sentence handed down in 1986 against Owens should be commuted to life in prison. The attorneys cited scheduling conflicts and medical issues in seeking an extension. Prosecutors had wanted to extend the deadline only until Jan. 4.

Monday's motion by Swift and Henry revealed that they intend to cite the light sentence meted out to Mary Winkler, another Tennessee woman who killed a husband she accused of domestic abuse, as one reason Owens ought to be spared death by lethal injection.

If Owens is ultimately executed, she will become the first woman put to death by Tennessee since 1820.

4 Comments on this post:

By: dustywood on 12/16/09 at 8:02

Why does it take so many years to execute anyone? Has not this case been tried again and again at Tennessees expense? I do not remember the case though I have lived here since 1981. I would think that if there had been evidence to indicate life in prison, it would have been ruled so. Just another waste of tax payers dollars. Just keeping someone in prison, in the standards that the USA keeps them, is too good. In many other nations, to get more than just a flop and slop, their familys and friends have to foot the bill.

By: wataboutbob on 12/16/09 at 9:21

According to a yahoo news article I read back in March, it costs a state more to carry out an execution than it does for life in prison. Some states have eliminated it for that very reason. It went on concerning the subject:

"Not a chance, says 52-year-old Gordon "Randy" Steidl. He lived on death row and then in the general prison population, after his sentence was commuted to life. He preferred his former accommodations.
... He spent 12 years in a tiny cell on death row. Then he was thrown into "gen pop," with its snarling mass of an open cellblock, where the prospect of being stabbed, raped or worse loomed constantly, alongside deafening noise and psychotic cell mates.

"If you really want to kill someone, give them life without parole," Steidl said in an even voice. He speaks of his troubled past as if it was trapped under glass or locked behind bars — visible but no longer able to torture him.

"It's worse than dying."

By: ccmishu on 12/16/09 at 9:36

"If you really want to kill someone, give them life without parole," Steidl said in an even voice. He speaks of his troubled past as if it was trapped under glass or locked behind bars — visible but no longer able to torture him.

"It's worse than dying."

And he has experience in dying for that comparison???

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/16/09 at 2:40

whataboutbob, you are correct. it does cost more to execute than life without parole.