Kelly Renee Gissendaner was pronounced dead by injection of pentobarbital at 12:21 a.m. at the state prison in Jackson. She was convicted of murder in the February 1997 slaying of her husband after she conspired with her lover, who stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death. Kelly Gissendaner, 47, sobbed as she said she loved her children and apologized to Douglas Gissendaner’s family, saying she hopes they can find some peace and happiness. She also addressed her lawyer, Susan Casey, who was among the witnesses. “I just want to say God bless you all and I love you, Susan. You let my kids know I went out singing `Amazing Grace,'” Gissendaner said…
Gissendaner sang “Amazing Grace” and also appeared to sing another song before taking several deep breaths and then becoming still. More than 100 people gathered in rainy conditions outside the prison to support Gissendaner. Among them was Rev. Della Bacote, who said she is a chaplain at Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville and who spent several hours with Gissendaner on Tuesday afternoon, talking and praying.
“She was at peace with whatever was to come,” Bacote said.
Perhaps the premeditated execution of another human being cuts through the layers of veneer in American life more than anything else. Cutting through all the din of media, the vulgarity of commercialism, the nepotism of economics and the corruption of politics, there is the unavoidable reckoning of death.
Death has no politics. It’s economy is accountable and certain. It’s commercialism, far from the noisome pestilence one might expect to be its nature, casts an obscure, shadowy presence. As it comes, even to those who are expecting it by the administration of others, it has no leading pomp. It is the way all must pass.
Some face it better than others, surely. Many know it unexpectedly. Many know its approach. In all there is the inextricable connection to it by which we either shape our lives or live behind a facade of denialism. Faith is our only means of sampling its nature. To experience it is not an end in itself, but a beginning.