Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tennessee Woman Only Days from Execution Walks Free

Gaile Owens of Tennessee was released from prison after sitting on death row for a quarter-century for the killing of her husband, according to Reuters.  Owens was at one time only days from being executed and is now a free person.
Owens had been scheduled to die by lethal injection September 28, 2010, but that sentence was commuted by then Governor Phil Bredesen.  The Governor said at the time that he spared Owens after a review showed she had admitted her guilt and that other people who committed similar crimes generally drew lesser sentences.
Owens had been sentenced to die after being found guilty in 1986 of arranging to have her husband killed.Evidence showed she had solicited several men in poor Memphis neighborhoods with offers of up to $10,000 to kill her husband Ron Owens.
Sidney Porterfield, the man Owens hired, used a tire iron to beat her husband in the couple's suburban Memphis home while Owens and their two sons were away.  Porterfield remains on death row, reported Reuters.
During her parole hearing, Owens testified about sexual assaults and physical abuse she suffered from her husband that she said led her in 1984 to contract a man to kill him. She said that during her court trial in 1986 she hadn't talked about abuse because she felt it would harm her children.
A year to the day after she was scheduled to be the first woman executed in Tennessee in more than a century, the Parole board announced that she would be given her freedom.

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