Tennessee prison frees former death row inmate

By TRAVIS LOLLER | October 7, 2011 | 10:45 AM EDT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A woman who spent 26 years on death row and came within two months of being executed has been freed from prison in Tennessee.

Fifty-eight-year old Gaile Owens of Memphis was released Friday and greeted by a small group of supporters outside the Nashville prison.

She was sentenced to die for hiring a stranger to kill her husband in 1985, but her death sentence was commuted to life in prison last year and she won parole last week.

Supporters had urged her release, claiming she was a battered wife who didn't use that defense because she didn't want her young sons to know about the physical and sexual abuse.

One of those sons, Stephen Owens, was there as she left prison and she immediately hugged him.