Cannibal asks judge for more freedoms

15 Jul


by Nelda Curtiss

ALAMOSA, CO – Friday morning following a one hour delay, and subsequent two hours of testimony from the State Hospital’s psychiatrist, Bill Martinez (attorney for a woman who first killed and then ate her boyfriend) asked the court to affirm her with “Yes you are a healthy person. .. we trust you, we decided to give you a little bit more freedom.”

Carolyn Gloria Blanton, 54, who changed her name to Jane Lynn Woodry in 1999, has been under the care of the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo for well over a decade since being accused of shooting to death, dismembering and cannibalizing portions of former boyfriend Peter Green, 51, of Alamosa in late 1993.

After lengthy testimony, by Dr. Elissa Ball (Woodry’s psychiatrist), cross examination and redirecting by both attorneys, the judge asked: “How has anything in Ms. Woodry’s underlying make up changed?” and “Why make any change at all?”

On medication, Ball said, “She is unlikely, as any of us are, to do anything violent.” She further said that the State Hospital order would call for random house searches to look for “contraband, evidence of substance use/abuse,” and “weaponizing” of “steak knives” or other ordinary sports equipment like a “soft-ball bat” that may be placed “under the bed or by the door.”

Out going Alamosa County District Attorney Peter Comar said that he would like to see these random searches occur more often than the order states.

Having testified before the court four times previously, Dr. Ball told the court that she had been treating Blanton/Woodry for over ten years. She clarified how Woodry meets the State definition that although she suffers from abnormal mental condition, on medication she is not dangerous to herself or others. Her medicine is not a pill, Ball said, but is an injection into her muscle every two weeks. “Woodry is not dangerous if she is not psychotic,” she said. Medication keeps the psychosis in check, Ball indicated.

The testimony continued and examined the checks and balances of the proposed conditional release. Ball said, a client could decide not to take prescribed medication in pill form but that the “guarantee” for their compliance is to “give them medication without their participation,” and thus the reason for the injection of the anti-psychotic medication into the muscle.

In discussing the further assurances of the conditional release, Ball said that Woodry’s friends, also Ball’s patients, would alert to changes in behavior, as would the Alcoholic Anonymous sponsor, notes from the case manager, as well as compliance urine and hair analyses and other safe guards.

Psychiatrically speaking, Ball said that besides the “intermuscular injection,” Woodry also takes “medicine prescribed as needed” such as anti-anxiety medication.

Summing up Woodry’s current state, Ball said that Woodry is “totally committed” to her treatment, that she now shares her anxieties or misgivings where before Woodry “would hold it in.” “She recognizes right from wrong,” she said. Ball said that she recommends Woodry for this conditional release but did not anticipate any recommendation for unconditional release in the foreseeable future, if ever.

Martinez, noting that Woodry was sorry for her “terrible, horrible act” in 1994, said that she had indeed made notable progress. His closing argument discussed her current emotional state and that on medication, “she is safe, compassionate, caring and conscientious person.” He said, “She is indeed committed to her treatment, to sobriety except for the one bump in the road.” The “bump in the road” referred to Woodry’s relapse and use of marijuana in 2006. “She has not actively suffered” from manifestations of schizophrenia, he said, “for many years.”

Martinez further wrapped up the State Hospital’s position, “Her condition is a day-to-day challenge. While mental illness is not curable it is manageable and a person can be reintegrated into society.” He said, “We all look for affirmation from outside sources. Jane Woodry needs to be a healthy person. There comes a time when the community has to give affirmation.” He asked that the system reply to Woodry with “Yes you are a healthy person. . . I think it is more than symbolic to grant conditional release; we trust you, we decided to give you a little bit more freedom.”

Speaking for Woodry, Martinez said, “I did a terrible and horrible thing in 1994. I’m deeply ashamed. The person who killed Peter Green is not me.”

“I would rather err on the side of safety,” Comar said in his closing remarks. “I don’t have a real opinion either way,” he said but added that he would like to see provision for strenuous time line of random home searches and other fail safes.

Judge Swift thanked the doctor, attorneys and others and said that she would render her ruling in writing but did not give a time table for her decision.


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