Overdose linked to prison term

June 07, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

A Crownsville woman who said she would rather die than go to prison apparently tried to commit suicide yesterday by swallowing a handful of pills while on her way to a courthouse holding cell.

Deanne Sue Kinsey, 31, of the 300 block of Hall Road had just been sentenced to five years in prison for a probation violation and was being taken to a cell in the Anne Arundel County Courthouse basement shortly after 10 a.m., a sheriff's spokeswoman said.

As part of standard procedure, Kinsey was told by a sheriff's deputy to empty her pockets. She reached into her pocket and popped a handful of anti-seizure medicine into her mouth, according to the sheriff's office.

Kinsey then told the deputy, "I'm not going to jail, I'm going to die," said Daphne Selph, a deputy sheriff.

Kinsey was taken by ambulance to the Anne Arundel Medical Center, where she was listed in stable condition and was being guarded overnight while undergoing observation, a hospital spokeswoman said.

"She's in a state where she's in and out of a state of consciousness, basically slipping in and out of it from the drugs," said Assistant Public Defender Vito Pugliesi, her attorney, who visited her yesterday.

Mr. Pugliesi said that during the hearing yesterday Kinsey appeared distraught at the prospect of going to prison, but there was nothing to indicate that she was suicidal. "She was crying all along," he said.

Ms. Selph said that Kinsey had been free until yesterday's hearing, so it would not have been unusual for the woman to have medication on her. The incident did not represent a security lapse, she said.

"Everything that happened was standard procedure right up to when she took this action," she said.

Kinsey never lost consciousness and refused orders to spit out the pills, Ms. Selph said.

Judge Eugene M. Lerner sentenced Kinsey to five years in prison because she had violated terms of her 1989 probation by repeatedly using cocaine, said Cynthia Ferris, assistant state's attorney.

According to court records, Kinsey was convicted of a 1988 robbery outside the McDonald's restaurant in Millersville. Kinsey grabbed a woman's purse containing $25, struggled with the victim and ran away.

At that time, she was sentenced by Judge Lerner to five years in prison. However, the judge agreed to suspend the prison term and give her 200 hours of community service and five years of supervised probation instead, with the condition that she be incarcerated for five years if she violated probation.

The court records show Kinsey violated probation by failing to report to her probation agent and using cocaine.

Kinsey, who worked in a fast-food restaurant, tested positive for cocaine use on Nov. 17 and Dec. 10, according to the documents. She also admitted cocaine use to a drug counselor on Nov. 8, the papers said. Ms. Ferris said Kinsey had used cocaine three times since May 1.

Senior probation agent Martha D. Kumer said in a Dec. 9 report: "It appears that although the subject is attending a drug counseling program she is not motivated to remain substance abuse free."

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