Woman Set For Execution Ridiculed By Tabloids Over Fattening Last Meal

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Kelly Renee Gissendaner, the only woman on Georgia's death row, is scheduled to be executed next week, leaving time for tabloids to ridicule her choice for a hardy last meal.

Gissendaner, 46, was sentenced for planning the death of her husband Doug, which was carried out by her lover, Gregory Owen in 1997. Owen Testified against Glissendaner and will be eligible for parole in eight years.

Gissendaner's execution has been postponed twice, once due to freezing weather and more recently because of a problem with the execution drug. The second postponement was announced at the last minute, after Gissendaner had recorded a statement addressed to her children, telling them to stay strong.

Setting aside all issues of morality and justice, one tabloid in particular is focusing on Gissendaner's last meal, served in March before the last minute reprieve.

At the time the meal was described as follows:

Gissendaner had feasted on a massive last meal of two Burger King Whoppers, two large portions of fries, cornbread, a fatty salad, popcorn and cherry-vanilla ice cream.

It was further described as a 'whopping, 3.400-calorie last meal,' along with a picture of Gissendaner eating a normal prison meal, to underscore the depiction of the woman as a greedy pig.

Today, as a new execution date is set for September 29, the same tabloid reminds us of that last meal, this time upgrading the 'fatty salad' to

a salad drenched in buttermilk

Okay, got it! She's just a glutton who doesn't deserve to live!

However, thanks to more respectable journalism, we are able to learn more about this woman than her caloric intake.

Gissendaner will be the first woman executed by the state of Georgia in 70 years. Her lawyers filed a lawsuit in March saying the period of uncertainty after her execution was postponed amounted to 'unconstitutional torment and uncertainty.' A judge dismissed that lawsuit but they have asked him to reconsider.

Two of Gissendaner's three children have forgiven her and have asked that her life be spared.

Gissendaner's case drew national attention in March when hundreds of clergy made a plea for clemency, emphasizing that she had graduated from a theology program and was a model prisoner.

In her final statement, recorded two hours before her expected execution six months ago, Glissendaner said:

I just want to tell my kids that I love them and I'm proud of them and no matter what happens tonight, love does beat out hate. You keep strong and keep your heads up. I love you

On the same night, she wrote a letter to her fellow inmates, urging them not to worry about her, but to be encouraged.

Speaking to a professor of religion who got to know her in prison,  Glissendaner said:

The theology program has shown me that hope is still alive and that, despite a gate or a guillotine hovering over my head, I still possess the ability to prove that I am human.

According to NBC news, Georgia uses pentobarbital in a one-drug protocol for executions. An FDA-approved form of that drug is no longer available, so the state has it compounded by specialty pharmacies — a practice that death-penalty opponents say is unreliable.


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