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Son of death row inmate pleads for mother’s life

Son of death row inmate pleads for mother’s life

Posted: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 8:02 pm
By: NASHVILLE, AP

NASHVILLE (AP) — A man whose mother was sent to death row for his father’s contract murder 25 years ago made a public plea Tuesday to Gov. Phil Bredesen to spare his mother’s life.
Stephen Owens said he had not seen Gaile Owens in more than 20 years when he walked into the Tennessee Prison for Women last year and told her he forgave her for his father’s slaying.
“The harsh reality is that both my parents have been absent from my life,” he said. “Please do not execute my mother and rob me of this opportunity. Please do not leave me with the responsibility of looking my sons in the eyes and explaining that their grandmother was executed.”
Owens, 37, of Franklin, made the statement at a news conference on Tuesday, the day after the Tennessee Supreme Court set a Sept. 28 execution date for Gaile Owens.
Gaile Owens was convicted in Shelby County in 1986 of hiring Sidney Porterfield, a stranger, to kill her husband. Porterfield beat Ron Owens to death with a tire iron on Feb. 17, 1985, at the suburban Memphis home the couple shared with their two sons. Porterfield was also sentenced to death and is currently on death row.
Gaile Owens’ defense has argued she deserves a lesser sentence because, among other reasons, she was a battered woman — a fact no jury ever heard.
Published in The Messenger 4.21.10

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