Letters to the Editor

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 10:45pm

Battered woman's life should be spared

Gov. Phil Bredesen holds the life of a battered woman in his hands. The state will execute Gaile K. Owens, 57, by lethal injection unless the governor commutes her sentence to life in prison.

Gaile is a victim of severe domestic violence who was arrested in 1985, and later convicted, for hiring a man to kill her abusive husband, Ronald Owens. After exhausting her appeals, her lawyer and two public defenders have filed a formal plea asking Gov. Bredesen to commute her sentence to life in prison. Though she was diagnosed with battered woman’s syndrome, Gaile’s jurors never heard about the physical, emotional and sexual abuse she endured from her husband.

Among nine comparable cases over the past 25 years: two are serving life sentences, six have received probation or early parole, while only Gaile is facing death. Unless Gov. Bredesen commutes Gaile’s sentence, she will be the first woman executed by the state since 1820.

Not only were there very few, if any, resources for a battered woman in the early 1980s, but a woman who has suffered severe and consistent abuse is not in a competent state of mind. Gov. Bredesen should commute Gaile Owens’ sentence to life in prison, and save the state from executing a battered woman.

Caitlin O’Leary, 37215

 

Send comments and letters via email to editor@nashvillecitypaper.com

240 Comments on this post:

By: dooley on 3/3/10 at 3:31

I don't buy your argument Caitlin since some of her family members said that she was not abused by her husband . Also if she had been in the state of mind that you say she would have killed him her self . She had him assassinated which took careful planning and cold bloodedness. The sentence in my opinion should be carried and should have been long ago.

By: dooley on 3/3/10 at 3:32

She is as bad if not worse than Charles Manson.

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 4:35

Owens should have had some of those hooker shoes, like Mary Winkler! Both are guilty of cold-bloody murder, one is walking footloose & fancy free and the other is facing the death penalty. Plus Winkler even got access to the money made up for her children. Something is wrong with our justice system!

By: dooley on 3/3/10 at 5:05

You got that right . Winkler should also be waiting on the hangman.

By: BenDover on 3/3/10 at 6:26

I'm not sure about the specifics of this case but since the state executed Workman without considering the felony murder evidence and with all of the prosecutorial malfeasance I have no confidence in its ability to judiciously manage the power of the death penalty.

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 6:36

Ben - What in your opinion was the prosecutorial malfeasance in the Workman case?

By: Loner on 3/3/10 at 6:58

Good morning, Nashville.

I am not familiar with this case and have no comment other than that the death penalty should be abolished, IMO. Too many mistakes over the years have resulted in sending too many innocent people to their deaths on the taxpayer's dime.

Gov. Bredesen has hardened his heart on many issues, this is one prime example. Living in the Od Confederacy all these years has trabsformed him from a sharp NY liberal into a dull Southern Cracker. He's all yours now.

By: dargent7 on 3/3/10 at 7:09

This LTE was in The Tennessean last week, as was the story. The story keeps saying "she hired someone to kill her husband", but it happen? If so, did the killer get the death penalty too?
The Mary Winkler case was the biggest sick joke known to mankind's justice, superceding OJ Simpson. This "battered woman syndrome" is as real as COPD.
Killing someone is never an option to be used in court to be set free.

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 7:13

If Bredesen & our mayor Dean, are the best the North has to offer, the North can have them. They are both good at spending taxpayer's money to build their own ego boosting boondoggles,

By: dooley on 3/3/10 at 7:14

I don't think a Governor should intervene when all the appeals are exhausted and the USSC has held that the verdict stands. Workman was different there were circumstances that made his case far different from hers. Each case should be handled individually and not lumped all together in a "just say no" situation.

By: dooley on 3/3/10 at 7:15

Right again bfra .

By: Loner on 3/3/10 at 7:18

Sadly, Dooley, old Loner may be the best the North has to offer....sorry 'bout dat.

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 7:21

The voters hold the blame: These rich Northerners (Dean's wife's money) move down here, spend on campaign overkill and the voters fall for it.

By: dooley on 3/3/10 at 7:26

Loner ,I have no doubt that you could have handled either job better. I did not vote for Bredesen but rather wrote myself in to keep from voting for his opponent . I am disappointed in our mayor , who I voted for and has done a reasonable job on some issues but cannot control his catastrophic spending on projects that we co not need.

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 7:27

Loner, judging by your comments, you would be a better Gov. or Mayor than what we have at the present. Common sense & logic are not in their repertoire.

By: house_of_pain on 3/3/10 at 7:29

I wrote in Marty Stuart for the last election. I figured the "Marty Party" was just as good as the alternatives.

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 7:40

Loner - You have already got some votes and didn't cost you 1 penny!

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 7:41

house - You wouldn't vote for little John Rich? (smirk)

By: dooley on 3/3/10 at 7:42

Where is Nemo when you need him?

By: dargent7 on 3/3/10 at 7:50

No, my choice for Gov. would be Kinky Freidman. And get that bounty hunter that dresses just like him for Lt. Governor. Black trench coats, black Stetsons, and cigars for everyone in the cabinent.

By: Loner on 3/3/10 at 8:12

Thanks, for the vote of confidence. I'm afraid that I would not pass the rigorous vetting process.

Sometimes I fantasize about running for the US Senate from NY...this fall will feature the appointed Kirsten Gillibrand versus a yet to be named Republican. Gillibrand made sucking up to the Israel lobby her top priority in the days following her surprise appointment. All that arse licking paid off for her, Ford never had a snowball's chance of unseating the Jewish wannabe.

Mort Zuckerman, media and real estate mogul, has announced his intent to seek the GOP nod for the Senate race. His millions and his dual allegiance (USA-Israel) position will make him a tough competitor, as most Jews prefer4 a real Jewish politician to a Christian suck-up.

With Chuck Schumer already occupying the NY "Jewish Seat" in the Senate, it seems that having two "Jewish seats" to represent the Empire State may become the new paradigm.

Mayor Bloomberg has endorsed Zuckerman for the job; this will be race to determine who is more pro-Israel - a real Jew or a Jew wannabe. Let the arse-licking begin!

By: Kosh III on 3/3/10 at 8:17

what Loner said is worth repeating:
"I am not familiar with this case and have no comment other than that the death penalty should be abolished, IMO. Too many mistakes over the years have resulted in sending too many innocent people to their deaths on the taxpayer's dime.

Gov. Bredesen has hardened his heart on many issues, this is one prime example. Living in the Od Confederacy all these years has trabsformed him from a sharp NY liberal into a dull Southern Cracker. He's all yours now."

I didn't vote for Bredesen, I voted for the Green Party candidate.

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 8:22

No mistaking a good Scottish name like Gillibrand with a definite Jewish name like Mort Zuckerman!

By: Funditto on 3/3/10 at 8:52

"This "battered woman syndrome" is as real as COPD."

Are you serious? When you have no idea what you're talking about, do not press "post comment."

By: Funditto on 3/3/10 at 8:53

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 6:13

If Bredesen & our mayor Dean, are the best the North has to offer, the North can have them. They are both good at spending taxpayer's money to build their own ego boosting boondoggles,"

Agreed! But Governor Wamp will take some getting used to and no doubt be the butt of many Letterman jokes.

By: house_of_pain on 3/3/10 at 8:55

"Governor Wamp"? No thanks, I'll pass on that one.

By: dargent7 on 3/3/10 at 8:59

You are a bitter, mean woman. Comes thru with every post.
You support this woman and Mary Winkler's actions?
Why, because they're "women". They're killers.
Nice company you find yourself in.

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 9:00

house - Anybody that says "coal mining is good for the birds & the environment", as Wamp did, for Gov.? Somebody has got to be kidding!

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 9:03

Fun - I don't think Wamp stands a snowball's chance, but then look what we have now.

By: Funditto on 3/3/10 at 9:12

I am the least bitter or mean person on the planet. I just have this thing about men who hit women and/or verbally abuse them. Maybe because I saw it first-hand in my family? Who knows. I do recognize your tone as very similar to my psycho brother-in-law, though. How many times did you say you've been married?

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 9:24

Funditto - How is your son today?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 9:47

the reason why abused women end up doing things like this is because it's very hard to prove true domestic violence from those who are pressing charges as some sort of pissing match. so often times the cops won't write a report, the D.A. won't prosecute or the judge won't listen and the women keep being abused.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 9:48

there have been many women who filed orders of protection (which really is no more than a piece of paper), quit their jobs and moved in order to try to hide and STILL end up getting murdered because the "system" didn't protect them.

By: dargent7 on 3/3/10 at 9:56

There you go again.
We're talking about this Owen's woman and Mary Winkler.
If your brother-in-law is a psycho, it's your sister's problem.
You want to rationalize having "hit men" or women themselves shoot men in the back while they sleep? And this "syndrome" is b.s., like"Acid Reflux" or "Peripheral Artery Disease".
If you read, "The Gettysburg Address", you'd say, "Ah! Written by a bunch of mysogonistic men!

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 9:56

Blanket - I followed the Winkler trial very closely and no way did she have any proof of abuse. The other one I am not familiar with. Winkler after shooting her husband while he slept, disconnected the phone and left him alive while he bled to death. That is one black hearted woman!

By: house_of_pain on 3/3/10 at 10:00

Acid reflux is "b.s."? Seriously?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 10:00

i agree with you on the Winkler trial. it's total BS that she got off.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 10:00

i know for a fact COPD is not BS. my mother has it.

By: MamaG on 3/3/10 at 10:01

I agree with those who think the death penalty should be abolished. I also agree that if this woman is as abused as she claims, she would've killed the guy herself. I don't think someone who is not in their right mind would have the foresight to hire a killer.
Now, having said all that, I hope that the governor commutes the death sentence.
I can speak from experience about abused women and orders of protection. I filed an order on my ex and they couldn't ever find him to 'serve' it on him. It ended up costing me money and the whole process made me feel that I was the criminal, not the victim. Not enough is done to protect women (& some men who are abused!) from their abusers. Maybe some of these people feel that murder is their only option out of the situation. (And no, I'm not condoning murder)

By: dargent7 on 3/3/10 at 10:01

Nazix2: You need to watch current editions of COPS. The Police are exceptionally methodical on getting both statements in a 'domestic violence" call apart from each other.
Whomever has the most cuts, bleeding, welts usually stays home, and the other goes to jail.
They're arresting women just as much as men. Usually both.

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 10:02

d7 - Have to disagree with you on this one, so far none of the ailments you named are BS!

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 10:03

d7 On the lighter side, don't you watch those commercials? (G)

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 10:03

dargent, depends on the state. and once again, just because charges are pressed does not mean that the D.A.'s office will follow through or that the judge will see it as anything other than a he-said-she-said and not protect the person being abused. if COPS is the closest you come to understanding this situation, you're really uninformed. i speak from first hand knowledge.

By: slacker on 3/3/10 at 10:04

Hey Loner, we sent you Harold Jr., Ophelia Ford is soon to follow.
Payback my friend.

By: BenDover on 3/3/10 at 10:04

Bfra, The prosecutors coached the crack-head witness who later recanted... and they buried the ballistic evidence that pointed toward friendly fire.

The appeal for a new trial was denied because the close split (maybe even split… I can’t remember) of the state supreme court based on political ideology not the facts; this based on the reasoning that felony murder was the same as murder 1. Statutorily this is correct but felony murder would most likely have resulted in a life sentence with possibility of parole not the death penalty.

If Workman had been given the new trial he deserved there is a very good possibility he would have been given life in prison as the sentence rather than death and would have been eligible for parole on time already served.

The state supreme courts decision that the outcome would not be affected because felony murder and murder 1 are the same thing was absolutely incorrect. I would say so but there’s no way 9 other members of the jury would have agreed with it.

By: dargent7 on 3/3/10 at 10:04

All these "names" are generated from the marketing Dept. of the huge Pharma's.
Watch any newshow at 5:30pm and 80% of the ads are for some physical condition called a "name", and ah-ha....you've got it.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 10:05

good points, Ben.

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 10:07

Thanks Ben - Just wanted your take on the issue!

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 10:08

Blanket - The Winkler children are the ones I feel sorry for.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 10:12

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 9:08
Blanket - The Winkler children are the ones I feel sorry for.

Indeed. 8~(