Governor Commutes Gaile Owens TN DR to Life

Started by Michael, July 22, 2008, 08:36:39 AM

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Correct Frenchy, but Im wondering why these "facts" came up after all appeals had been exhausted?  ???

Theres no chance to proof the abuse after all these years and without any evidence.

Im truly not sure in this case, because as it seems she hadnt any financial benefit from the murder. On the other hand at this time she had the chance to leave her husband. There was no need to seek a hitman and participate in a murder.

Im not sure if theres a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.


To me this case represents the biggest problem with the US DP - endless delays.

In 1988 her crime was seen as bad enough to get her the DP and yet 22 years later she is still alive.
She has spent these years on death row which I am sure is not an enjoyable experience and now could potentially be executed, although like vikkiw47, I somehow doubt that she will be.
But if she is it is simply another propaganda coup for the anti's - "how could anyone want this poor, meek looking middle aged woman to be put to death after all she has been through?"  The abuse allegations may well be false but they will be exploited for all they are worth.

Other than these abuse allegations nothing has changed - she was willing to plead guilty at the time so she cannot say she is innocent now. Therefore should have been executed 20 years ago after her first (and only, if I had my way) appeal was dismissed.  Had this been the case nobody would give her a second thought now. 
Remember the three women executed in Oklahoma in 2001?  Perhaps vaguely for some of us.
Marilyn Kay Plantz's case was similar to Owen's.

It is perhaps worth noting that in Britain Owens would have served her life sentence and been out on parole for the last ten years in all probability.

The antis at all levels have done their best to make the US DP unworkable and then blame the pros each time there actually is an execution.


Okay, lets believe she had been abused by her husband.
Lets believe the killing was an act of despair and not evil will or greed.

If she'd done it directly after being beaten - had knifed him by her own hands while lying dead drunk in his bed - i would have no doubt.
A case in which are ONLY victims.

At the other hand,I side with Michael: Why comes that NOW and not first hand? Being in fear and terror is a GOOD Cause for a FALSE Deed.

Mostly irritating is the fact she hired a killer. Is this the work of a despaired and fearful woman?
Perhaps! Thinkable! Untypical???

Her son forgives her. Difficult - he is the nearest relative of both - Evil Doer and victim.
And perhaps the most suffering victim on the whole case.

So i'm inclined to follow his plea and say: "Commute her"
I  don't think she is a dangerous fellow and she will never fail again. There are others who would need the "justice juice" more urgent.
Perhaps its better to show one time too often mercy than on time too less.
In this case i "doubt" - and that lets behind a bad taste. Its good democratic principle: In dubio pro rheo!
Execution would be according to the letters of the law. Commution a sign PRO DP in general as the correct Penalty for the REAL evil ones.

Just my thoughts about that case as far i can understand it.


I wouldn't be AS outraged if this one was commuted as some others who are on DR. However, the facts stand, her case met the criteria for capital murder and that was the sentence handed down by a jury of her peers. Ultimately, the biggest problem I have with commutation is that it sets a precedent. I'm not saying she should be made an "example" of and because she is a woman, but she shouldn't escape execution for that reason either.  Bottom line, the "battered" woman issue was never raised until the defense gained popularity. It was a cold blooded, planned, premeditated murder, with Owens behind it as the mastermind of the crime. Plain and simple.

Remember, this is Tennessee. Owens is one of  only two women on their DR. They don't send women to DR all that often, and not without a lot of evidence and aggravating factors.  Sadly, They don't execute all that often, but they also don't commute very many death sentences.

To the best of my knowledge, the only time they have commuted a death sentence was in the case of Bobby Godsey, who was convicted of killing his girlfriends baby in 1996.     >:( 


Monday, June 14, 2010

CBS Sunday Morning Talks To Gaile Owens: Is Death Penalty Dying?

Posted by Brantley Hargrove on Mon, Jun 14, 2010 at 12:39 PM

n case you missed it, CBS Sunday Morning aired footage yesterday of a prepared statement from Gaile Owens, who is scheduled for execution Sept. 28 for arranging the 1985 murder of her husband Ron Owens. (See the two-part Scene series for an in-depth examination of the crime and the sham of a trial -- Part I, Part II.) CBS SM poses an interesting question: Is the death penalty itself in the throes of, well, death?

According to the report, fewer death sentences were handed down last year than at any time in the last 30 years. The stat is pretty startling -- though perhaps it shouldn't be, considering how many wrongly accused death-row inmates have been exonerated by DNA evidence. The sweaty nightmare of the criminal justice system is the execution of a single innocent man -- see David Grann's shattering New Yorker piece "Trial By Fire" for one such example.

Surprisingly, though, attitudes toward this practice -- a seeming anachronism in the rest of the civilized world -- haven't changed. Sixty-three percent of us still favor the death penalty, though for most it's a mere abstraction. (Attitudes might change if people actually witnessed one for themselves.) Aside from the argument that killing people who kill demonstrates that killing is not condoned, many still labor under the misconception that executing someone is actually cheaper than locking them up for life.

Even apart from the inevitable errors committed by a deeply flawed, often overextended court system, there's the inconsistency of how justice is meted out. Gaile Owens is a case in point. Mary Winkler, for example, blasted her preacher husband in the back with a shotgun in 2006 and sold a textbook story of abuse to a credulous media. Benefiting from today's enlightened attitudes toward spousal abuse, she's out of prison with custody of her children. Gaile Owens, by contrast, is a few months and one commutation away from the needle.

Sunday Morning took a drive-by look at the Owens case but observed, correctly, that it is "complicated." "Henry claims her client was a battered wife, that her husband was cheating on her ... and none of that mitigating evidence was presented at her trial," the report said.

Proving spousal sexual abuse to the criminal court standards of the time was all but impossible. The matter was never even raised at trial. Nor did jurors hear the claim that Owens' husband was cheating on her. Police found love notes in his desk -- evidence that might have impacted her sentencing. Yet according to the detective in charge, the now-retired prosecutor, Don Strother, regarded the letters as irrelevant. They were given back to Ron Owens' lover and never seen by the jury.

Here's where the story does its opposing-quotes dance. Sunday Morning quotes Strother: "You know, I think (the claim of abuse is) something that's being created at this time," he said. "I have no sense that that's, in fact, reality." But as Gaile Owens' present attorney Kelley Henry points out, she told the state expert charged with evaluating her competence for trial about her troubled marriage, leading the expert to conclude she may have been a battered woman. Unfortunately, her attorney at the time never followed up to get the expert's opinion.

One expert quoted in the Sunday Morning story calls this country's death penalty a "work in progress." The question brought into such sharp relief by stories like Gaile Owens' -- or by stories like Grann's about innocents put to death based on antiquated forensics -- is whether we should be carrying out executions when we're still tinkering.



Tuesday June 22nd, 2010

Tennessee Methodists ask Bredesen to halt execution of Bartlett native Gaile Owens

* By Richard Locker

* Posted June 21, 2010 at 4:59 p.m., updated June 21, 2010 at 11:17 p.m.

NASHVILLE -- The Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church is asking Gov. Phil Bredesen to spare Bartlett native Gaile Owens from her scheduled Sept. 28 execution for the hired murder of her husband in 1985.

Tennessee Methodists approved a resolution at their annual conference last week that both reaffirms the church's opposition to the death penalty and calls for the commutation of Owen's death sentence to life in prison.

It's the broadest call yet for the governor to spare Owens from execution.

Owens, now 57, was convicted in Shelby County in 1986 of hiring Sidney Porterfield of Memphis to kill her husband, Ronald Owens, who was beaten to death with a tire iron at the Owens' home in Bartlett.

Porterfield, now 67, was also sentenced to death but he has a hearing set for Sept. 30 to determine if he is mentally fit under the law for execution.

Owens' attorneys and supporters have launched a public campaign to persuade Bredesen to commute her death sentence on the grounds that she was unfairly convicted, did not deserve the death penalty and has been a model prisoner.

She had agreed with prosecutors to plead guilty prior to her Shelby County trial but was blocked from doing so because co-defendant Porterfield would not also plead guilty.

Her current attorneys also contend that her lawyers at trial never presented evidence of physical, sexual and emotional abuse she says her husband inflicted. They say 26 women have been convicted in Tennessee of killing or arranging the killing of their husbands but only Owens was sentenced to death.

The Methodists' resolution cites those arguments and the statements of prison officials that Owens has been a model prisoner.

"In no way, shape, or form do we condone the decision that Gaile made that caused the death of her husband," Rev. Brian Rossbert, a Nashville pastor who co-sponsored the resolution, said Monday. "We pray for God to forgive at the same time we pray that the State of Tennessee not make the same choice to end a human life."

No comment...>:(  :-\



I dont get that, that we may change our minds about execution if we saw one.  Id rather witness the execution of a murderer than  witness the murder of an innocent victim!!


NASHVILLE, TN (WMC-TV) - Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen announced Wednesday he has commuted the sentence of death row inmate Gaile Owens.

Owens, a Bartlett resident, was convicted of the 1986 murder of her husband.  She was scheduled to be executed on September 28.

At a press conference in Nashville, Bredesen said he felt the circumstances of the case did not warrant the death penalty.

Owens will instead spend the rest of her life in prison.

heidi salazar

July 14, 2010, 04:16:08 PM Last Edit: July 14, 2010, 05:24:16 PM by Heidi

At a press conference in Nashville, Bredesen said he felt the circumstances of the case did not warrant the death penalty.

I guess these are the circumstances he is referring to.....

Her attorneys had argued she received ineffective representation during the sentencing phase of her trial, that the state failed to turn over key evidence and that the trial judge had refused to allow her to tell the jury she had wanted to plead guilty in return for a life sentence.

Senior Judge Gilbert S. Merritt's dissent included the argument that that prosecutors covered up important evidence by not releasing love letters written between Owens' husband and another woman.

"The blatant prosecutorial misconduct suppressing the love letters was highly material and prejudicial at the mitigation phase of the trial," Merritt wrote. "To claim otherwise is to deny the obvious."


Another article (if I can post it)...

Bredesen Commutes Death Sentence For Woman Involved In Plot To Kill Husband

Her Execution Had Been Set For Sept. 28

posted July 14, 2010

Governor Phil Bredesen on Wednesday commuted the death sentence of Gaile Owens to life imprisonment.

The governor announced the commutation at the Capitol, citing "the extraordinary sentence compared to similar Tennessee cases, that Ms. Owens consistently admitted her guilt and that she had accepted a conditional plea agreement for life imprisonment prior to her original trial as the reasons for granting the commutation."

On Jan. 14, 1986, Ms. Owens was convicted of accessory before the fact to first-degree murder in the murder-for-hire plot that resulted in the beating death of her husband, Ron Owens, in 1985.

Governor Bredesen received a clemency petition from Ms. Owens on July 31, 2009. The state Supreme Court had set an execution date of Sept. 28.



Not a particularly unexpected decision...
JT's Ridiculous Quote of the Century:
"I'm disgusted with the State for even putting me in this position."
-- Reginald Blanton, Texas death row.  As of October 27, 2009, Reggie's position has been in a coffin.


Yepp, unfortunately.....

Im not sure if theres a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.

Elric of Melnibone

I am thinking they are going to count this as an "exoneration" even though she is going to be in prison for the rest of her life.
You can lead an ass to water and if you fight long and hard, you can make it drink.  But at the end of the day, after all the fighting, it is still an ass.

Banned from PTO 3 times so far for life.


Im am not surprise by this at all. kinda saw this one coming
Justice is not about bringing back the dead. It is not about revenge either. Justice is about enforcing consequences for one's own actions to endorse personal responsibility. We cannot expect anyone to take responsibility for their own actions if these consequences are not enforced in full.


July 15, 2010, 02:04:00 AM Last Edit: July 15, 2010, 02:05:41 AM by v1976ra
Not surprised, and on a personal level I'm not really outraged. But I don't like the precedent that is being set by this decision. I'm afraid that it will open the doors to a lot more shenanigans from DR inmates  in the future. I think Bredesen caved to political pressure and the whole "we will be executing a battered woman" propaganda.

To Gov. Phil Bredesen:

Thanks for not having the nads to support the sentence handed down by a jury which was made up by and representative of the citizens of your state. Hope this commutation keeps you from being cast in a negative light. Good luck in your political career.


P.S. My mother says thanks for sticking it to state employees and screwing them and their families out of benefits at every turn.

P.S.S.  :-\ :D :-\

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