2 Who Killed Abusive Mates Not On List For Early Release

January 27, 1991|By Maria Archangelo | Maria Archangelo,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER — Two Carroll women who say they were driven to kill their mates because of physical or mental abuse have not been identified as candidatesfor early release or parole, a county domestic violence activist said.

Representative Constance Morella, a Republican from Montgomery County, has asked Gov. William Donald Schaefer to consider pardons for 15 women in Maryland prisons who murdered or assaulted men they say abused them.

But the names of Gloria Crutchfield and Amanda Perry, two Carroll women who say a cycle of abuse led them to murder, are not on the list prepared by the Baltimore-based Public Justice Center for Schaefer's review.

Angela Lee, the founder of the non-profit Unity Group Inc. for victims of domestic violence, said she believes the list sentto the governor is incomplete.

"There are 20 women in our support group for battered women at the Maryland Correctional Institute for Women now," said Lee, whose Unity Group has run for one and a half years a weekly program there for women who assaulted their mates. "I would estimate there are at least 30 women who fit this category."

Crutchfield, 37, a former Mount Airy woman convicted in September of shooting her live-in boyfriend to death during an argument, is servinga four-year sentence at the Jessup prison.

Perry, 29, who pleaded guilty last March to shooting her husband, Benjamin Daniel Perry, while he slept, was sentenced to six years at Jessup.

But after serving just three months of that sentence at MCIW, Carroll Circuit JudgeLuke K. Burns Jr. granted Perry's request to be moved to the CarrollCounty Detention Center.

Since June, Perry has been allowed to leave the jail daily to go to her job at Dunkin' Donuts in Cockeysville. She was given more than a week's furlough at Christmas to spend time with her family.

Lee said Perry's case probably will not be considered by the governor because she is jailed at a local detention center. Perry's attorney, David B. Irwin, has filed two requests with Burns to have her sentence shortened.

Burns has not made a decisionon the requests.

Lee said that Crutchfield, who was sent to prison in mid-December, has not been released into the main prison population at Jessup. That could be the reason Crutchfield was not included on the list, Lee said.

Schaefer visited five women at the prison Jan. 14 and talked with them about their experiences.

After the meeting, the governor told reporters that he might support a bill allowing evidence of Battered Spouse Syndrome to be introduced at trial, but added that he did not have any immediate plans to pardon the women.

In December, outgoing Ohio Gov. Richard F. Celeste granted clemency to 26 women who had been convicted of killing or assaulting husbands or companions they said were abusive.

The release was lauded bydomestic violence activists but decried by victims' families, prosecutors and judges.

Garrett County Circuit Judge Fred A. Thayer, whosentenced Crutchfield in December, said Tuesday that he would not object if Schaefer decided to pardon her.

Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman said he would not like to see Crutchfield or Perry set free before serving their full sentences.

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