Thursday, December 31, 2009

Woman on TN death row awaits execution date from court

Woman on TN death row awaits execution date from court

By Kate Howard • THE TENNESSEAN • December 9, 2009

The state attorney general's office has asked the Tennessee Supreme Court to set an execution date for one of the two women on death row.

Gaile Owens was convicted in 1986 of accessory before the fact of first-degree murder for having her husband killed in West Tennessee.

Ronald Owens was beaten to death; Sidney Porterfield was convicted of carrying out the slaying for Owens. Porterfield is also on death row.

Owens' appeals have been exhausted, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied her request for a re-hearing on Nov. 30. The state requested Tuesday that a date be set for her execution.

Owens, 57, was the first woman sentenced to death under Tennessee's 1977 death penalty law.
Her appeal was denied 2-1 by a panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals last year. Her attorneys had argued that she had ineffective representation, that the state didn't turn over key evidence and that the trial judge wouldn't let her tell the jury she wanted to plead guilty in return for a life sentence.

Another woman, Christa Pike, is on death fow for killing fellow Job Corps worker Colleen Slemmer in 1995.

There have been seven executions in Tennessee since 2000, the most recent was last week. Cecil C. Johnson Jr., was executed by lethal injection for the 1980 murders of three people during a robbery at a Nashville market

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