To: Honorable Governor Tim Kaine:
Cindy Gale Countess is incarcerated, for murder. Life has taken some very cruel turns for her, in the last few years. We want you to know some information about her, and we would like to ask you to give consideration to her most difficult plight.

At the age of 52, she is currently incarcerated in the Commonwealth of Virginia(Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women), in Troy, Virginia. The charge? Second degree murder, it is our sincere belief that this woman suffers from difficult mental issues. Issues which helped to contribute to the crime for which she was accused and convicted of.

The death of this woman's mother(on May 3rd, 2002)was a tragic consequence of a series of events, poor medication management, "caregiver burnout", and various other factors. One of the medications involved in this trial was a drug called "Paxil". There has been great controversy about this drug and some of the other drugs in the same category. Paxil is considered by many in the medical field to be the very worst, in causing adverse events in a person. There have been other horror stories similar to Cindy's. This drug has been linked to suicide/homicide. While it does help some people, it is known to be devastating to a small group, of which we believe Cindy to be one.
There are many stories at the website, Paxil Database. There is lots of information, at the website of Dr. Peter Breggin, who is an expert on anti-depressant drugs, and their effects. Dr Ann Blake-Tracy is also an expert who has said, this drug stays in a person's body, many months after it is no longer taken. You can find more information by the website. She has a radio show(about anti-depressants), and has written numbers of books on the dangers of anti-depressant drugs. She has compared the effect of these drugs(such as Paxil)to LSD. She has said..these drugs can cause a person to "act out their worst nightmare", and have few memories of it(as with Cindy). It can cause amnesia, or complete memory loss, as to what has occurred. Yet Cindy was treated as someone who knew exactly what occurred. Is that justice?

A horrible thing did happen that May evening in Roanoke, VA, when her mother died. The defendant in this case does not have any memory of the events of that evening. This can be a result of an adverse reaction to the drug Paxil. Either partial memory loss or, as with memory loss. A psychiatrist stated in court that Cindy will never remember. He also stated she is low/no risk for violent behavior, in the future. It seems that many of the events that happened that fatal night were supplied in a "fill in the blanks" sort of way by the prosecution, police, witnesses for the prosecution, and amazingly even the judge(with all due respect). There was no jury only one judge to weigh all the evidence.

We believe that she was unjustly convicted, and that her defense may even have been mismanaged. You must admit when a person is facing years in prison, one should deserve a vigorous defense (even if they are public defenders, which was what the Commonwealth of VA provided for Cindy). The defendant in this case was advised by her legal counsel to waive her right to a jury trial, in her confused, medicated and depressed condition she was as a "lamb being led to the slaughter", as she stood before a Commonwealth Judge. He seemed to take no note of the circumstances that brought on this tragedy. He pronounced her guilty, accompanied by a cruel admonishment to an already broken and mentally confused woman. She was sentenced to a total of 30 years, 14 years to be served, and after that indefinite probation.

It is our contention that the possibility is quite real that Cindy was not competent at the time some of these crucial decisions were made, in her trial. Decisions that a defendant is required to make. Very little investigative time was put into the planning of her defense. Nor was she competent at the time of the "alleged murder". Simply stated she was not able to adequately assist in her own defense, she is being accused of something she has no memory of. The police did not perform any toxicology tests on Cindy at the time of her arrest, she was questioned while she was intoxicated under the influence of a powerful antidepressant, and faintly smelled of alcohol. The crime scene was compromised by a brother(of the defendant) who claimed he was the one who "discovered" the mother's body.

The evidence at face value could look quite damning. But she is not a willful murderer, she has never shown a propensity towards violence. She loved and cared for her difficult mother for years when only one of her other siblings would help. The sibling who wants to help Cindy, is the only sibling that EVER helped Cindy to care for their mother. The two of them spent years caring for their aged parents. Now hers is a desperation for help for her incarcerated sister who is very ill.

Cindy has a dire need for help, and we believe in the power of justice to right what is wrong. Cindy desperately needs help, and it's help that her sister cannot afford. We are hoping to generate some interest and mercy on behalf of this extremely ill woman. Cindy is losing more hope each day she languishes in a cell that we are sure is taking a huge toll on her health, in a women's prison. In the prison system she does not get the care that she actually needs. Not to mention the horrors of what prison life is doing to her emotional well-being, which was already pretty poor best.

There are some horrific aspects to this case, an event that was not premediated, and was more so a matter of bad timing, when all things that could go wrong that fatal night, did.

This petition is to ask for either a pardon for Cindy, or a repreive for time served. She has served five years. She is very ill. She suffers from chronic depression(grief over mother's death), recurrent cancer(had surgery and radiation for breast cancer in 2003, while going thru trial). She lives with severe, chronic pain, from fibromyalgia, and osteoporosis, which is causing her spine to thin. She is being made to do overwhelming, laborious work, despite all her medical problems. She has never been a lazy person, but was put on total disability(in 2003), by social security, for weak nerves, and so many physical problems. BUT this seems to matter not to those in charge of her. She is on Tamoxifin, and was to be closely monitered for 5 years. She is not, and at times does not get the medicine for months, when it runs out.
We are pleading with you for help to get Cindy out of prison. So please, if you agree that Cindy should have a chance to redeem her sad life, and maybe regain some health, we hope you will consider her plight and help Cindy before it is too late, and she dies in prison, from lack of efficient, and competent care. Cindy Countess was always a girl with a life full of promise, Cindy had so many hopes and dreams of her future.

At her age many of her dreams and hopes cannot be fulfilled. BUT we would ask your please give her some hope and help her to be set free, so she can at least redeem whatever health and life she might have left. We believe Cindy's life to be in peril. We believe she does deserve a chance, to at least be given the ability to try and regain a life. We know we cannot give her this chance, but that you can. This is supposed to be a country based on justice and mercy, and altho this tragedy was a horrible thing..we sincerely believe it was not one that Cindy ever wanted to happen.

Sadly, as difficult as caregiving can be, we believe Cindy simply broke under the strain of caring for both parents who had many, multiple health issues. We pray you will consider mercy toward her, and will perhaps, precipitate a release from the strict enviornment she is in. It is truly bad enough to be incarcerated..but to be as ill as Cindy nothing short of a horrible nightmare come true.

We thank you for your time and consideration, and ask you to please help Cindy, and give her a chance to become free again.

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