The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has rejected the plea of the Personal Representative of Pope Francis to not execute Kelly Gissendaner, the sole woman on the state’s death row. Ms. Gissendaner is scheduled to be executed Tuesday night. Ms. Gissendaner was convicted of conspiracy to kill her husband, who was stabbed to death 18-years-ago by Gregory Owen.
Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the diplomatic representative for Pope Francis in the U.S., wrote the Georgia Board referencing the pope’s address to Congress, in which the pope said:
This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes.
Archbishop Vigano then wrote:
While not wishing to minimize the gravity of the crime for which Ms. Gissendaner has been convicted, and while sympathizing with the victims, I nonetheless implore you, in consideration of the reasons that have been expressed to your board, to commute the sentence to one that would better express both justice and mercy.
The Georgia Board rejected changing Ms. Gissendaner’s death sentence to life in prison, even though the actual killer (Mr. Owen) has been sentenced to life, not death.
For more on this story, click CBS News Pope Francis asks to spare life of condemned Ga. woman; state rejects pleaplea