Angela Kelsey

Tell the Story

There, but for the grace of God, go I

Filed in Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stories :: July 5, 2010

I wished that I could snap my fingers and go back in time to the day before I met him, and not meet him.

I wished that he would get arrested for driving drunk.

I wished that he would leave me for one of his girlfriends.

When fear and humiliation and fatigue coalesced, I wished that he would die.

Headshot Gaile Owens is a battered woman on death row in Tennessee for arranging for the 1984 murder of her husband, a man who sexually, emotionally, and physically abused her.

In spite of accepting a plea deal in exchange for a life sentence, Gaile is scheduled to die on September 28, 2010.

She didn’t testify in her own defense to protect her young sons from the details of her abuse at the hands of their father.

Gaile has been diagnosed with battered women’s syndrome.

She has expressed remorse for her crime and been a model prisoner.

She would be the first woman to be executed by the state of Tennessee since Eve Martin was hanged in 1820.

A review of nine comparable cases from the past 25 years found that six of the nine cases received full probation or early parole; two of the nine are serving life sentences and entitled to parole hearings.  Only one of the nine, Gaile, is serving a death sentence.

Gaile’s only hope now is for Governor Phil Bredesen to commute her sentence from the death penalty to life in prison.

Please go to to sign a petition and read more about what you can do.