Abuse as a child led her to kill parents, inmate says In the first legal case of its kind in Md., daughter asks to be freed after 18 years

In September 1974, the well-to-do and well-respected William and Dorothy Glazier were killed in their bed in Cambridge, blasted with a shotgun. Now their adopted daughter, who was convicted with her boyfriend of their murders, is seeking clemency, the first such request in Maryland based on a claim of sexual and physical child abuse.

If the crime occurred today, her lawyers contend, the court would hear Linda Sue Glazier's account of a lifetime of mistreatment -- beginning in her mother's home in Florida, continuing in an adoptive home in New Jersey and ending with beatings and rapes from the time she was 12 in the Glaziers' waterfront home in Cambridge.


But in 1974, when Linda Glazier was an 18-year-old standing trial, courts weren't accepting evidence that years of abuse might have caused the violence. The jury took only 90 minutes to convict Glazier of conspiring in the murders, which were committed by her boyfriend while she was in another room.

From the day in April 1975, when she was sentenced to two consecutive life terms, Glazier has never left the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women at Jessup, except for trips down the road for therapy at the Patuxent Institution.


In prison, where her record is clean, she's completed college, earning a business degree from Morgan State University.

But she's never had a home visit, never been on work release. State prison officials say that she'll have to serve about 30 years, less credit for good conduct, even to be considered for such programs. At 36 years old, she expects to serve many more years in prison -- unless the governor intercedes.

"She was a victim of history," says Paul Mones, one of Glazier's lawyers, whose Santa Monica, Calif., practice is devoted to defending abused children who kill their parents. "It was 20 years ago, but it's like it was a century ago."

Today, though only four states have statutes that automatically allow evidence of battered-child syndrome, Mr. Mones says some courts will listen to the theory that abuse might have led to the crime.

In Maryland, which has written into law a battered spouse's right to use evidence of abuse, a bill that would have extended the right to battered children died in the legislature last spring.

M. Cristina Gutierrez, a Baltimore defense lawyer who is now working on a parricide case, says Maryland courts will sometimes allow some testimony about mistreatment --depending on which judge is hearing the case. "It's not used to excuse the crime but to explain the circumstances," Ms. Gutierrez says.

When Linda Glazier was tried and convicted, battered-child syndrome simply was not an issue courts considered.

"Today it would have been handled differently, and the result would have been different," says Phillip M. Sutley, the Baltimore lawyer who was appointed by the court to defend Glazier in 1974. He never mounted a defense. He says the judge disallowed any of the evidence he would have offered.


Mr. Sutley says he's sure that today, with society aware of the effects of long-term abuse, Glazier would have fared far better. "It wouldn't have been not guilty, but it definitely would have been a better result."

Perhaps. Battered-child syndrome is a new theory in most courts, and many judges remain skeptical.

The judge in the Glazier case, Somerset County Circuit Judge Lloyd L. Simpkins, is one of them.

At her trial in April 1975, he would not allow Glazier to build a defense around her accounts of incest and beatings. At a hearing in December 1992 in which she sought a reduced sentence, he again discounted the evidence of abuse.

"She just made bald allegations that she had been sexually abused," he said last week. "Nobody believed it. . . . I didn't believe it. She couldn't back it up.

"It was a cold-blooded murder," Judge Simpkins said. "She was in trouble all her life."


And as for her parents, the judge recalled, "Their reputation was


'To me, it was normal'

William Glazier was 50, Dorothy Glazier 47 when they adopted their only child, 7-year-old Linda Sue Miller, from a family in New Jersey.

By the time she moved into their household near Cambridge, she had lived in several homes in several states. In nearly all of them, she says, she was abused.

"It was normal," she says as she sits in the visitors' reception room at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women, her home for the past 18 years. "To me, it was normal."


She had been born in North Carolina in August 1956. Her father abandoned the family -- Linda and two older brothers -- in Jacksonville, Fla., about two years later. Her mother, who had no money and let the children scavenge for food from trash cans, brought men home to spend the night while the children slept on the couch. Glazier says some of those men sexually abused her.

When she was 4, the state put the children in foster homes, and Linda lived in a succession of them until a family took her in, moved to New Jersey and adopted her -- though her juvenile records question whether the adoption was legal. Within a couple of years, the mother, who was in psychological therapy, regretted the adoption and talked about sending the girl to an institution.

According to a history Glazier's lawyers prepared for her clemency bid, that plan changed when William Glazier, who was visiting his brother in New Jersey, noticed Linda playing with neighborhood children. Hearing that the girl might be put up for adoption again, he said he'd be interested in taking her in.

On Christmas Day 1963, the Glaziers drove Linda home to Cambridge.

She was lonely in the country. "The nearest kid was three miles away." But she had a bike and lived in a nice house. She was athletic, liked sports, read avidly. The family was active in the Episcopal church, where she sang in the junior choir.

"There were little bits of happiness," Glazier recalls of her years there, "so long as I was this perfect little angel who sat in the corner."


Always tall and slender, she reached adolescence early. "I looked like this when I was 10 years old," Glazier says. When she was 12, while her mother was hospitalized for a few days, she and her father began an argument over dinner that escalated to a beating and, she says, ended in rape.

By the time she was 13, she was sneaking out of the house to meet boys -- and facing beatings from her father when she returned. After one such night, she fled to a neighbor's home and called the Dorchester County sheriff to complain of "mistreatment and abuse," according to her probation officer's 1969 records.

'Well-respected citizens'

The documents from 1969 described the Glaziers as "well-respected citizens" who told investigators that their daughter had begun to be a problem. Until then, she'd done well in school and joined clubs. Now she'd started lying, become sullen and boy-crazy.

She was sent for psychological testing, found to be pregnant -- not by her father, she says -- and had an abortion. Sent back home, she says the rapes continued. In March 1970, when she refused to come home after school, Mr. Glazier had Linda, 13, arrested.

She was declared delinquent in juvenile court and sent for several months to reform school, which she remembers as a peaceful time free from the abuse at home. But that August, she was sent home, and the sexual abuse resumed, she says.


In Glazier's juvenile records, a psychologist who saw the girl for years noted, "These problems center around the poor marital relationship of Mr. and Mrs. Glazier and the jealousy and contempt displayed by them toward Linda."

When she returned home from reform school, Mr. Glazier told the probation officer he wanted the girl "out of his sight, that he could no longer tolerate her." Mrs. Glazier wouldn't speak to either her husband or adopted daughter.

The sexual intercourse stopped, Glazier says, but the slapping, fondling and grabbing did not.

At 17, just after high school graduation, she met James Ottie Greenwell. He was 23, separated from his wife, living in a trailer, lying about being a Vietnam veteran. She wanted him to take her away from the Glaziers.

On the night of Sept. 20, 1974, they decided to confront her parents and leave forever, according to the clemency documents. When she entered her parents' bedroom to say she was home, Mr. Glazier grabbed at her breast and tried to pull her close enough to kiss, Greenwell later told police. She ran out of the room. Greenwell went to his car, got a shotgun, walked into the bedroom and killed them both. A nephew found the bodies two days later.

'I just wish they'd die'


Because of publicity, the trial was moved to Somerset County, where the courtroom was packed. In the courtroom, Glazier sat dispassionately. The prosecutor told the court the pair had cold-bloodedly plotted the murders.

In a statement to police at the time, Glazier for the first time, apparently, told authorities explicitly about her father's sexual abuse.

She said she and Greenwell had planned the murder for months, but had "chickened out" each time because "he didn't have Satan in him and he didn't have the black magic spirit in him." On the night of the murders, she said, Greenwell was in a satanic trance, beyond her control.

Tried and convicted in a separate trial, Greenwell remains in the Maryland Penitentiary in Baltimore, also serving two consecutive life terms.

Today, Glazier says she had no idea Greenwell would kill her parents that night.

She says there was never a plot. But she admits that she talked openly about her hatred for her parents. "From the time I was 12 years old, I told anybody and everybody I just wish they'd die and leave me alone."


Develop new approach

The head of the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation, the agency investigating Glazier's clemency request, believes the criminal justice system must develop a new approach to cases that involve battered children.

"Nobody talked about child abuse and domestic violence 18 or 20 years ago, because it was behavior that was behind closed doors," says Nancy J. Nowak, director of the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation. "I think we need to say: What is our VTC responsibility to someone now in that situation, now that we are so much more aware and sensitized to this kind of violence.

"Much more balanced sentences have evolved," Ms. Nowak says. "I have talked to Linda one-on-one. I know her story is consistent. She feels strongly that she was not provided a fair trial.

"Someone does need to look at this case, I feel, under a microscope. I have to remain objective but I do believe Linda Glazier's case deserves close consideration," Ms. Nowak says.

At their first meeting, during a visit to women prisoners in Jessup in December 1990, Ms. Nowak was stunned to learn Glazier, smart and poised, was serving consecutive life sentences. "I remember driving down that road on a cold December night and thinking about the tragedy and what a contributing member of society Linda could have been and still might be," Ms. Nowak says now.


Once the investigation is complete, Ms. Nowak will make a recommendation to Paul J. Davis, head of the Maryland Parole Commission.

"We'll be asking: Is she a victim? Was the crime a result of that battering? When the crime was being prosecuted, was appropriate attention given to her during the legal process?" Mr. Davis says. The board, in turn, will make a recommendation to the governor.

In Jessup, Glazier is a model prisoner with no marks on her record, prison officials say. She says she is sure she is employable. She has been trained in professional sewing. She is a fine accountant, one of her lawyers says. She likes to work on computer data entry.

When a support group for women prisoners was formed, Glazier was elected an officer. She attends Sunday religious services.

And she has found advocates, the kind of supporters she looked for but never reached when she was a troubled girl. Through a contact in prison she found Annapolis attorney Frank Dunbaugh, who specializes in prison civil rights cases. He's been working on the case for no fee for eight years.

"All the various safeguards that there are supposed to be in the system didn't work," Mr. Dunbaugh says. "When she complained about the treatment she received from her parents, she was arrested" and sent to reform school. "She said no, she wasn't going to go back to the house with these people. You'd think they would have asked why."


In September 1991, after seeing Paul Mones on Oprah Winfrey's television program, Glazier enlisted him to work with Mr. Dunbaugh. Mr. Mones, as well, is working for free.

'Children are powerless'

He sees the Glazier case as typical of the court's attitudes toward children. "It used to be, back before the advent of our national consciousness about child abuse, we thought teen-agers who killed their parents were just bad seeds -- just as women who killed their husbands were just out for the money or were just bad women.

"We realize now that if women can be afforded the protection of battered-spouse syndrome, there's even more reason to afford that protection to children. Children are even more powerless."

The Rev. Phebe Coe, an Episcopal priest from Odenton, visits Glazier frequently. If Glazier is released, she will join Ms. Coe's parish.

The priest was in court in December when Judge Simpkins denied Glazier a reduced sentence. "I was so positive. I was already buying her new clothes. She got hopeful, and then she was blasted by that judge.


"This woman's never done anything wrong, except she brought that loaded cannon [Greenwell] into that house," Ms. Coe says.

Glazier was asking the judge to change her sentence to two concurrent life sentences -- instead of consecutive terms -- plus two years for robbery of her parents' home. That change would have made her eligible for an appeal for parole now, not several years from now.

'Where she belongs'

But Judge Simpkins said no. She was responsible for two deaths, he says.

"She's where she belongs. She killed her mother and her father."

And what of other killers, sentenced since then, who have more privileges and may even have been freed by now. "Maybe they shouldn't be on the streets either," the judge says.


There have been other disappointments. In 1991, when women's advocates organized a clemency bid for women convicted of killing their husbands or boyfriends, Glazier was at first included in the group. But because her case was slightly different -- she was abused not by a spouse but by a parent -- her name was not on the list of cases that went to the governor.

Angela Lee, organizer of the Unity Group, a women's support organization that met in the prison, says Glazier had hoped desperately to be granted clemency then. She is smart, a leader, Ms. Lee says. She deserves a chance.

At her trial, Glazier was described as a wild girl. In the courtroom, Mr. Sutley recalls, she looked "cold, composed."

But in the prison visitor's area, when she's asked what she thinks now that the governor is looking at her case, Glazier quickly and softly begins to cry.

"I don't think it's going to happen," she says. "I just don't think I'm ever getting out."