CRIME

Kelly Gissendaner, Georgia Woman On Death Row, Seeks Clemency On Eve Of Execution

02/24/2015 11:18 am ET | Updated Feb 24, 2015

The first woman on death row in Georgia since 1945 has appealed for clemency on the eve of her execution.

Kelly Renee Gissendaner is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. She was convicted in 1998 of orchestrating a plot to murder her husband, who was stabbed to death by her boyfriend. She has been on death row since 2008.

Her lawyers asked the state parole board to spare her life Tuesday, saying that she "accepts full responsibility" for her role in the gruesome slaying, has found god and behaved as a model inmate while behind bars, according to NBC News.

They argued that Gissendander's death sentence was unfair since her boyfriend, Gary Owen, got life in prison. Owen struck a deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty and testifying against Gissendaner in exchange for a life sentence.

Clemency in death penalty cases is uncommon but not unheard of, according to data from the non-profit Death Penalty Information Center.

Since 1976, there have been 1,402 death row executions, and 279 people who were granted clemency. Only nine have been granted in Georgia during that time, but that's the third-highest number in the United States, behind Illinois (187) and Ohio (19).

Since 1973, more than 140 inmates have been exonerated -- released from death row because of evidence that points to their innocence.

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