Delay sought in Gaile Owens' death penalty case
December 15, 2009
Attorneys for death row inmate Gaile Owens have asked for more time to prepare a defense against a request to set her execution date.
The state attorney general's office requested an execution date for Owens early this month after her final appeal was rejected. Owens was sentenced to death in 1986 for hiring a man to kill her husband, Ronald Owens. Sidney Porterfield was convicted of carrying out the hit for Owens and is also on death row.
Owens, 57, was the first woman sentenced to death under Tennessee's 1977 death penalty law.
Her lawyers have asked the Tennessee Supreme Court for an extension until Feb. 5 to argue for a commuted sentence, saying that she was forced to trial despite agreeing to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence and that no court has fairly considered evidence that she was abused by her husband.