"Fatal Attraction" Killer Jennifer Reali Finally Granted Parole

Booking photos of Jennifer Reali around the time of her 1990 arrest for murder.
Booking photos of Jennifer Reali around the time of her 1990 arrest for murder. File photos
Update 2: Jennifer Reali, popularly known as the "Fatal Attraction" killer, has reportedly been granted parole following a bumpy ride through the criminal-justice system. In 2011, her sentence for murder was commuted by then-governor Bill Ritter, but the state parole board subsequently rejected three appeals centered largely on the depth of her Christian faith.

She is scheduled for release on December 12.

In a blog post published yesterday, November 7, on the website of Inside Out Ministries, Reali doesn't directly address being granted parole. However, the piece's title — "God's Gift" — certainly suggests a correlation. The text is below, followed by our previous coverage, including much more information about the crime that earned Reali her unwanted moniker.
"God's Gift" by Jennifer Reali

I suppose that it can be difficult for us to discern the things in our lives that are gifts from our Father in Heaven; it can get really muddy but then there are times when out of nowhere God gives you something that you know is from Him and you know that it has some incredible significance. I’m still waiting in awe to hear His heart on the gift, the nature of the gift, and the rarity of the gift.

Right in the middle of the city on a cool fall day sat a young golden eagle upon it’s prey in the middle of the street. As I drove closer to this regal being it didn’t even flinch at the fact that I was very slowly driving past it. From the vantage of 3 feet his magnificence was breath taking. The beauty and strength that exuded from his body defied the vulnerable place which he sat. To see such an incredible creation of God in such an unexpected place blessed me so deeply.

The creativity of Gods awesome creation is astounding. The colors of the eagles feathers and the turn of his majestic head. My goodness he was beyond description. I feel so loved when I am blessed with God’s creation right there in front of me. So close. I have never been that close to an eagle. Even when hiking or river rafting or anything else. It took me driving down a residential street in Denver to come eye to eye with a golden eagle.

We should work to be watchful every day. We miss so much by becoming a part of the business that we aren’t washed with the colors of a sunrise or sunset. We miss the smell of the rain and the sound of the thunder because we’re so busy listening and smelling for other things; things inside our little sphere. Some aren’t satisfied by the confines of their space and then others are content as can be in their little piece of the world. Some are content to just watch the shows every night. It’s how they relax while others need personal attention – conversation. Some are so stuck in their gadgets that they don’t even notice those things. Our gadgets have overtaken so much of our life that we can feel lost with out them.

I love leaving my phone home when I go out because I’m not going to hear the call when it’s in my back pocket anyway and I don’t have time to talk while I’m grocery shopping. I’m so thankful that I wasn’t distracted by anything that would have caused me to miss God’s precious gift to me yesterday. I just wanted to run door to door and share the eagle with everyone! While busy in their houses they had no idea that an amazing creature had visited our street.

Seeing him made me want to be strong and fearless and calm like that eagle. Knowing that God’s word says that we will soar like the eagle we will run and not be weary we will walk and not grow faint. To rise up on wings like eagles. Wow. Sometimes these bodies are so restrictive. So much we want to do and yet we have our limitations and if the devil had his way we’d totally lose our physical ability to do much at all. His desire is to take us out of the physical realm. He wants us to wake up in pain. He wants us to struggle to sleep. He wants us to lose our coordination and have difficulty dressing. He wants us to fall into depression wondering if it’s even worth it to get up and get ready for another day.

If it wasn’t for Jesus I would likely no go on and yet Jesus drives me on. He pushes me. He makes my sleep sweet and he enables me to tolerate the pain in the morning. His promise is yes and amen and I know that his gift of the eagle was to remind me that he will make me rise up like the eagle…

It also encourages me with everything else I’m doing. Work is soaring in a way that only God could orchestrate. God gives all of us who work here gifts to teach us how blessed we are to be where we are working with who we are and doing what we’re doing. In addition to is all I was blessed to go and use what God had blessed me with and give it as a gift to about 50 other women who I pray left full of determination and confidence when I left. I know what my call is and just like God gave me the eagle God gave me to those women who particularly needed to hear what God wanted to tell them through me. We are all just vessels that God uses to show and share and speak his word through. Seeing that eagle showed me that what I’m to be doing I am doing and as we grow it only becomes more anointed and beautiful, strong and fearless. Washed in the water of the word for His people to drink and be satisfied by.

Isaiah 40:31 — but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
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Jennifer Reali circa 2011.
CBS4 file photo
Update 1: Jennifer Reali's fourth bid appeal will reportedly be considered by the full parole board, which has up to sixty days to grant her request. A decision is expected before year's end. Continue for our previous coverage.

Original post, 6:54 a.m. October 20: Jennifer Reali, nicknamed the "Fatal Attraction" killer after slaying her lover's wife, has been denied parole three times over the past six years. She's now made her fourth appeal, reportedly arguing that "I can't honor my victim's death by being a hooligan" and touting a religious rebirth that has included the release of multiple gospel music albums and regular online essays celebrating the Christian faith.

"Maybe I’m not a normal believer of Jesus," Reali maintained in her most recent post on the website of Inside Out Ministries, which focuses on helping troubled ex-offenders. "Maybe the crazy, impossible things God has done for me aren’t evident in your life. Or maybe they are and you just haven’t noticed them. That’s possible. Sometimes God’s blessings swoop in and take over as if they have always been there and we are dumbfounded by the whole ordeal. The enemy will do whatever he can to discredit the Lord even if it’s just stealing His thunder."

As we've reported, Reali burst into the public consciousness in 1990, after she ambushed and murdered Diane Hood, who was just leaving an El Paso County support group for those afflicted with lupus. Reali had disguised herself, ninja-style.

The motivation for the killing is said to have come from Brian Hood, with whom Reali had been having a passionate affair: "Their first sexual encounter, she later confessed, took place on top of the washing machine in her laundry room," our Alan Prendergast wrote in a 2012 post. She claimed that Hood manipulated her into doing the deed, with him allegedly quoting Bible verses in a bid to convince her that the killing was part of "God's plan."

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A booking photo of Brian Hood.
File photo
In the end, Hood was sentenced to 37 years in stir, while Reali received life. She wasn't supposed to have a shot at parole for forty years, but Governor Bill Ritter, persuaded by reports that she'd been a model prisoner, tweaked her sentence as he was leaving office. Although her conviction remained, she was given a chance at parole earlier than previously allowed.

Her 2011 visit to the parole board didn't result in her immediate release. Her application was rejected, after which Reali responded in unlikely fashion: via song. She released two albums, including Love Me In, which is still available on Amazon at this writing. Song titles include "Captured," "Beauty in the Ashes" and "Pool of Repentence."

The liner notes on the discs were penned by Reali and sported this acknowledgment: "I was not a songwriter. I was not a singer nor a guitarist. However, God chose me to sing, write and play" tunes such as "Promise Child," which sports the lines "My flesh fought against your plans for me/Now my heart's poured out in praise.../There's no more running from your will's embrace."

Arguably, Reali's most personal composition is Love Me In's title track. The lyrics read in part:
Would you find me acceptable if you knew where I'd been? Would you cringe in horror at the stories I could tell? Would you judge and condemn me? Sentence me to hell? Oh-oh, straight to hell....

If you knew my dark side Would you sense the hands of Christ?

I broke every commandment I've hidden special sins.... Are you willing to hold me When I'm poison through and through? Can you see past my number to see a child of God?
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The cover of the Jennifer Reali album Love Me In.
Presumably, such sentiments factored into the 2014 decision by prison officials to grant her request to transfer to the halfway house. At the time, a spokesman said Reali met the requirements for the move for reasons of "time served and behavior." But her request for parole based in part on a diagnosis for pancreatic cancer was unanimously nixed. A similar request was also denied in 2015.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, Reali, 55, is currently allowed a degree of freedom thanks to her enrollment in the Intensive Supervision Parole Inmate Program. She's got an apartment in Denver and is allowed to drive to and from work and chemotherapy treatments for her cancer. And that's not to mention her efforts on behalf of Inside Out Ministries, where another excerpt from her most recent post, October 2's "Walk by Faith, Not by Sight," brims with positivity.

"I can’t turn away from God," she wrote. "It’s too late, I’m in too deep. I expect miracles. I expect the impossible to erupt in my life and your life. I live expectantly. I don’t let the world's report cloud what the word of God says. The world's report is so messy and contradictory and if I immerse myself in it, I will think nothing but doom and gloom. I wouldn’t believe in redemption. I wouldn’t believe in healing. I wouldn’t believe in tithing. I wouldn’t believe in success. I’d be wrought with unbelief."

Reali should learn soon if her request for parole will be considered by the full board — and if her optimism is justified.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts