On Friday night, I got an email from Dr. Sarah Callen of the PPD Illinois Alliance letting me know that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn was granting Debra Gindorf clemency. Since then, the news has spread like wildfire.
Gindorf, now 45, was 20 years old when she killed her two children, and attempted to kill herself, with overdoses of sleeping medication. When Debra woke up after the first suicide attempt, she tried to kill herself again. When that wasn't successful, she turned herself in to the police. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that all of the nine mental health experts who evaluated her now believe she was suffering postpartum psychosis at the time of the murders.
Chicago Tribune reporter Eric Zorn writes:
"She was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 1986. But that sentence was a miscarriage of justice that needed a humanitarian touch to correct given the justice system's poor understanding of post-partum illness at that time.
Said who? Dr. Ronald Baron, the Highland Park psychiatrist who testified against Gindorf at her trial but later weighed in on her behalf."
The Lake County prosecutor's office also offered no objection to her release.
Carol Blocker and Dr. Callen, as well as Gindorf's attorney Kathleen Hamill, are thrilled with this news as all have been vocal supports of Gindorf. Many are hailing this as an important recognition of the severity of postpartum psychosis and the importance of making sure these women are properly recognized and treated so such tragedies can be avoided.
More detail from:
The Chicago Sun-Times
Let's hope Ms. Gindorf has family and friends to support her as she emerges from prison after so many years.