Murder of Douglas Gissendaner by Kelly Gissendaner and Gregory Owen investigated on The Real Murders of Atlanta

Mugshot of Kelly Gissendaner
Kelly Gissendaner was executed by lethal injection for killing her husband, Douglas Gissendaner. Pic credit: Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office

The Real Murders of Atlanta on Oxygen is re-examining the murder of Douglas Gissendaner, who was brutally stabbed to death by Gregory Owen at the behest of Douglas’s wife, Kelly Gissendaner.

Douglas and Kelly had a difficult marriage, where they were regularly separated and had even divorced and remarried on one occasion. The pair seemed to be heading for divorce once again when Kelly decided to persuade her lover, Owen, to murder him on a rural road in Gwinnett County, Georgia.

On February 7, 1997, Kelly drove Owen to the house she shared with Douglas and gave the killer a nightstick and a large hunting knife. She told him to wait for her husband while she went out partying with friends.

When Douglas arrived home later that evening, Owen put a knife to the Gulf War veteran’s neck and forced him to drive his own car out to a secluded area.

Owen marched Douglas into the woods before whacking him on the head with the nightstick; he then stabbed him multiple times in the neck.

The killer then took Douglas’s watch and wedding ring, hoping to confuse investigators into thinking it was a robbery.

Kelly Gissendaner and Gregory Owen coldly calculated the Douglas Gissendaner murder

The twisted duo had prearranged the murder spot, so Kelly arrived at the scene as Owen was stabbing her husband. She checked the body to make sure he was dead.

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The killers drove Douglas’s car about a mile away and torched the vehicle using kerosene.

The authorities found the car a couple of days later, but it would take a couple of weeks before Douglas’s remains were discovered. Wild animals had chewed on Douglas, making an autopsy difficult.

In the meantime, Kelly had reported her husband missing and pretended to be grieving. However, investigators, friends, and family all noted how unconcerned she seemed about what happened to her husband and how quickly she resumed her normal life.

Kelly was also clearly angered when she learned Douglas had failed to organize a life insurance policy. The cops learned she had been having an affair with Owen and that they had called each other a lot on the night of the murder.

Mugshot of Gregory Owen
Gregory Owen is serving a life sentence for killing Douglas Gissendaner. Pic credit: GA Dept. of Corrections

Owen was arrested about three weeks after the murder. He soon confessed and implicated Kelly.

Kelly Gissendaner sentenced to die for Douglas Gissendaner killing

Owen pleaded guilty to murder and received a life sentence. Kelly Gissendaner was sentenced to death.

Following multiple failed appeals, and despite an intervention from Pope Francis asking for mercy, Kelly was finally executed by lethal injection in September 2015. She sang Amazing Grace as she died.

This episode of The Real Murders of Atlanta airs Friday at 10/9c on Oxygen.

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