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Hit Man For Gaile Owens Dies In Prison

Hit Man For Gaile Owens Dies In Prison

CREATED May 22, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The man hired by former death row inmate Gaile Owens to kill her husband has died in prison.

Tennessee Department of Correction spokeswoman Dorinda Carter said Sidney Porterfield died of natural causes on Wednesday afternoon. At 71, he was the oldest inmate on death row.

Porterfield was a Memphis mechanic in 1985 when he was approached by Gaile Owens and offered $17,000 to kill Ron Owens.

Gaile Owens admitted that she spent months driving around crime-ridden sections of Memphis, looking for someone willing to harm her husband, who she claimed was abusive.

She found Porterfield, who ambushed Ron Owens and beat him to death with a tire iron.

The killing gained notoriety, in part, because Gaile and Ron Owens had been seen as a devout and devoted couple.

Owens and Porterfield were both sentenced to death.

Owens' supporters later said she had been an abused wife who refused to discuss the abuse at trial to protect her young sons.

Former Governor Phil Bredesen commuted Owens' sentence to life in 2010, and she was paroled a year later.

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)