Menu

CRIME

Tennessee governor commutes death sentence of woman who hired man to kill her husband

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.