Colorado's "fatal attraction" killer, who last month told a parole board that she "believes in redemption," will now get to live it as a free woman.
Jennifer Reali, 55, has been approved for parole and is scheduled for release Dec. 12, according to Department of Corrections records.
Reali's mother, Gail Vaughan, reached by phone in Washington state Tuesday, declined to comment on her daughter's release other than to say "I'm glad."
Reali did not return calls for comment.
Though Reali received a life sentence after being convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the '90s, Gov. Bill Ritter commuted her sentence in 2011, making her eligible for parole.
Records dating back to Reali's first attempt at parole show she was denied in 2014, 2015 and 2016 because she was still considered a risk. The records cited the violence and severity/circumstances of the 1990 killing in which Reali, then 28, donned camouflage and a ski mask and gunned down her lover's wife, Dianne Hood, as she was leaving a lupus support meeting in Colorado Springs. Reali testified that Brian Hood persuaded her to kill his wife, claiming it was "God's plan."
During her 2015 review, parole board members criticized Reali, saying she "put emphasis on co-defendant (Brian Hood) more than herself." It also recommended she be in the Intensive Supervision Parole Inmate program, or ISPI, for "a longer period of time." The ISPI program has allowed Reali to drive a vehicle, hold a job and live life unshackled in a Denver apartment with a cat and a dog.
But this year, on her fourth attempt at parole, a risk assessment for Reali placed her "very low" on the threat scale, meaning she is unlikely to harm society or re-offend.
The report showed board members credited Reali for "adequate" program participation, treatment and a parole plan. The only stipulations: She must continue to honor the no-contact order with the victims - Hood's family - and she must continue to pay restitution in the amount of $39,475.09.
Reali had told the board last month during her 35-minute parole hearing that she was a changed woman.
"That person is dead and gone, and I'm glad. She needed to go," Reali said of her former self. "I can't prove to anybody what my thoughts are. I can only show people who I am by how I act."
She now works at Inside Out Ministries, helping connect other offenders to resources - which she says reduced recidivism - and is part of The Urban Ministry Institute in Denver. She also write blogs and speaks at community churches.
At her hearing, Reali said she planned to stay in the same apartment and continue working. She's in trauma therapy counseling, as recommended following a mental health evaluation.
She's also back in chemotherapy, she told the board, explaining why her white hair was buzzed so short her scalp showed in parts. But the treatments, she said, "have been very successful."
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