Tennessee governor commutes woman’s death sentence

Gaile Owens, who hired a hit man to kill her husband, gets life sentence, could be eligible for parole in 2012

Topics: Crime,

Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen has commuted the death sentence of a woman convicted of hiring a man to kill her husband.

The governor’s move Wednesday changes Gaile Owens’ sentence to life in prison. She could be eligible for parole in 2012.

The 57-year-old was scheduled to be executed in September. It has been nearly 200 years since Tennessee executed a woman. One other woman is on death row, but she is still appealing.

Owens was convicted in 1986 of hiring a man to kill her husband, Ron. He was beaten to death with a tire iron at the suburban Memphis home where they lived with their two sons.

Bredesen said he commuted the sentence because she once had a plea deal to avoid the death penalty that fell through when her co-defendant refused to plead guilty.

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