Church readies home for imprisoned woman Citing family abuse, it urges her release

August 15, 1993|By Angela Winter Ney | Angela Winter Ney,Staff Writer

An Odenton church is working to free convicted murderer Linda Sue Glazier by raising money, pledging to serve as a surrogate family and urging clemency based on a claim of sexual and physical child abuse.

When Glazier is released from prison, says the Rev. Phebe Coe, priest at Epiphany Episcopal Church, $1,000 will be in a bank account waiting for her.

Ms. Coe doesn't say if.

"Linda doesn't belong in prison. My impression is that everybody is in agreement on that," said Ms. Coe. "Our hope is that the governor will recognize it's time for her to be out."

Glazier has been in prison for 19 years.

She had just turned 18 when she was convicted of conspiring to kill her parents. The 1974 murders were committed by her boyfriend while she was in another room, but at the time she told police they had planned the murder for months. She now says there was no plot.

In April 1975, she was sentenced to two consecutive life terms and sent to the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women at Jessup. Without a pardon, she will serve her life in prison.

"It's outrageous this woman is in prison, Ms. Coe said. "There was no law on the books in 1974 that required courts and judges to discuss the extenuating circumstances of abuse. People were not as aware then of the extent and effects of child abuse."

A clemency petition was submitted April 29 to Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

Ms. Coe, who has visited Glazier weekly for two years, circulated the50-page petition and is hoping to raise money for the day when Glazier is freed.

"We're a poor church," says Ms. Coe. "It's a small church, and we struggle to keep the roof patched. We're always behind. We just decided to put our money where our mouth is. She's going to need a lot when she gets out."

The parish has been helping Glazier on the twice-a-year occasions she is permitted to receive gift boxes. They've given her a radio and a TV. On Friday, her birthday, they sent her a card with a cashier's check for a small gift.

The money for Glazier's freedom fund comes from Epiphany's annual church fund-raiser, which brought in $2,000 last year.

The church decided to give Glazier half.

"We're hoping to make more this year at the fund-raiser," said Ms. Coe. The congregation, she said, also hopes "other people will jump on the bandwagon with us" and donate to Glazier's fund.

An Episcopalian, Glazier several years ago requested to see a priest. Someone called Ms. Coe, who met Glazier and was

impressed with her character -- and her history.

Adopted by William and Dorothy Glazier at age 7, she endured mis

treatment through her teen years, with beatings and rapes in the Glaziers' Cambridge home from the time she was 12, Glazier said in a statement to police before her trial.

She met James Ottie Greenwell when she was 17.

Tried and convicted in a separate trial of killing Glazier's adoptive parents with a shotgun, Greenwell is serving two consecutive life terms in the Maryland Penitentiary in Baltimore.

One of the first things Glazier told Ms. Coe was what a relief it was to be in prison, away from the abuse.

Now, however, she has earned a business degree from Morgan State University. She has been president of the Jaycees in prison. And she seeks freedom both for herself and for the work she wants to do, Ms. Coe says.

"Linda really wants to get involved with children's rights," says Ms. Coe. "She'll be an articulate advocate in the area of child abuse."

If she is pardoned, Glazier has potential jobs lined up through her attorney. Through the church, there are people in Maryland willing to give her a place to stay. And she will have a church home.

"We'll be her extended family when she gets out," Ms. Coe said. "She tries not to be too hopeful, but I just think it's going to happen soon."

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