Georgia has postponed a lethal injection scheduled for Wednesday night, delaying what would have been the state’s first execution of a female inmate since World War II.​

The decision was announced Wednesday afternoon by the Georgia Department of Corrections. A spokeswoman said the execution of Kelly Renee Gissendaner was delayed due to a winter storm that is expected to wallop the northern half of the state.

There could be up to six or eight inches of snow in some portions of the state, with a winter storm warning in effect through Thursday morning, the National Weather Service said. Forecasters have “increasing confident in significant accumulations” in parts of northern Georgia, according to the NWS, and heavy snow is expected on Wednesday evening.

This storm was expected to severely disrupt travel across parts of the state, which could make it difficult for people to get to the state prison in Jackson, about 45 minutes south of Atlanta.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) declared a state of emergency beginning Wednesday afternoon and lasting through Thursday afternoon. In the executive order, Deal pointed to the looming winter storm and said it is expected to render roads “nearly, if not completely, impassable with the expected snow and ice formations.”

Gissendaner was convicted of murdering her husband nearly two decades ago. She convinced her boyfriend, Gregory Owen, to kill Douglas Gissendaner, her husband, in February 1997, according to the office of Sam Olens, Georgia’s attorney general. Gissendaner was convicted and sentenced to death the following year.

Kelly Renee Gissendaner in an undated picture. (Georgia Department of Corrections via Reuters)

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles said Wednesday it had denied Gissendaner’s request for clemency.

Her execution would have been the ninth so far this year in the country and the third in Georgia. Last year, Georgia executed two inmates. Two others on death row died of natural causes, while three death-row inmates had their sentences commuted.

Gissendaner is the only woman on the state’s death row. Her execution was rescheduled for Monday, three days before the 70th anniversary of the last time Georgia executed a female inmate. Monday’s forecast for Jackson currently calls for cloudy skies, a chance of rain and highs in the low 60s.


Executions of female inmates are rare in the United States