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Kelly Renee Gissendaner Faces Execution Months After Escaping Death

Kelly Renee Gissendaner's last lethal injection was called off because of cloudy drugs.

Georgia has set a new execution date for Kelly Renee Gissendaner, six months after a lethal injection was cancelled at the last minute because the drugs looked cloudy.

Unless Gissendaner's appeals or calls for clemency succeed, she will be put to death Sept. 29 for the 1997 murder of her husband at the hands of her lover, who is serving a life sentence.

Gissendaner's case drew national attention earlier this year when hundreds of clergy made a plea for clemency, noting that she had taken part in a theology program and was a model prisoner.

She was waiting to be executed in March when prison officials suddenly halted the process, saying they had detected cloudiness in the drugs. They later said the chemical had been kept at too low a temperature and that precautions would be taken to avoid a repeat.

Georgia uses pentobarbital in a one-drug protocol for executions. An FDA-approved form of that drug is no longer available, so the state has it compounded by specialty pharmacies — a practice that death-penalty opponents say is unreliable.

Kelly Gissendaner, death row inmate, celebrates her graduation from a prison theology program in 2011.Ann Borden / Emory University

Gissendaner's children recently called for her life to be spared in a video posted online by their mother's supporters. Her daughter, Kayla, said she was estranged from her for many years but has since forgiven her.

"During the years since my dad’s murder, I have struggled with the immense pain of losing him and the fact that my mother was involved in his murder," she said.

"I reached a point where I knew that I had to move from a place of anger and bitterness to a place of love and forgiveness. I had to face what my mom had done and find a way to forgive her. In the process, I saw that my mom had struggled through the years to come to grips with what she had done and face her own horror about her actions.

Hear 'last words' from death-row prisoner Kelly Renee Gissendaner

"On the night of March 2, 2015, I waited near the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison where an execution team was charged with killing my mother," she said. "I felt physically ill, nauseated and light-headed — overwhelmed by sadness. Executing her will not bring justice or peace. It would only bring more pain and suffering."

The victim's family has said his wife deserves to die.

“Doug is the true victim of this pre-meditated and heinous crime,” his parents and siblings said in a statement after the last execution was called off. “We, along with our friends and supporters and our faith, will continue fighting for Doug until he gets the justice he deserves no matter how long it takes.”