Jennifer Reali gained a lot more notoriety as the so-called Fatal Attraction killer of her lover's wife than she has for the gospel singing on self-released albums that she recorded while doing time at the Denver Women's Correctional Facility. Hear a sample of her song stylings below.
Now, however, she's getting attention — not all of it positive — for being released to a Lakewood halfway house despite being turned down for parole just three years ago. Photos, video and more below.
As our Alan Prendergast 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'd been having a passionate affair: "Their first sexual encounter, she later confessed, took place on top of the washing machine in her laundry room," Prendergast writes. 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."
In the end, Hood was sentenced to 37 years in stir, while Reali received life. She wasn't supposed to be eligible for 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 shot at parole earlier than previously allowed.
Her 2011 visit to the parole board didn't result in her immediate release. Her application was rejected, meaning she won't get another chance at release until 2016.
Reali responded in unlikely fashion: via song. She released two albums, including Prisoner of Hope....
...and Love Me In: The latter remains 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 feature 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?
Presumably, such sentiments factored into the decision by prison officials to grant her request to transfer to the halfway house. A spokesperson told the Colorado Springs Gazette that she met the requirements for the move for reasons of "time served and behavior."
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Nonetheless, Darla Blue, a friend of Diane Hood's, is unhappy with this development, good behavior or no. Her comments are included in a piece from KRDO-TV. It's on view below, following a look at a recent Jennifer Reali booking photo.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.