Lena Baker was the first and only woman to be executed in Georgia’s electric chair. She was executed in 1945, after she was convicted of murdering a man who had imprisoned her. At the time of Baker’s execution, the Georgia prison system was under scrutiny for reform.
In August 2005 Baker was pardoned posthumously by the state Board of Pardons and Paroles. The board acknowledged that the 1945 decision to deny Lena Baker clemency was “a grievous error” and that she could have been charged with the lesser crime of voluntary manslaughter, which would have prevented the sentence of capital punishment.
What I done, I did in self-defense, or I would have been killed myself. Where I was I could not overcome it. God has forgiven me. I have nothing against anyone. I picked cotton for Mr. Pritchett, and he has been good to me. I am ready to go. I am one in the number. I am ready to meet my God. I have a very strong conscience. ~ Lena Baker