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Tennessee to Free Woman Formerly on Death Row

The U.S. state of Tennessee is freeing a woman who once sat on death row for hiring a man to kill her husband.

The state Board of Probation and Parole voted Wednesday to release 58-year-old Gaile Owens, whose death sentence was commuted last year by then Gov. Phil Bredesen.

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

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

Parole board spokeswoman Melissa McDonald told The Associated Press that Owens could be released within the next three weeks after paperwork is completed.

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