TAVARES — A former stripper and ex-girlfriend of a convicted killer who helped him plan a deadly crime in Eustis but then gave crucial testimony that landed him on death row has been denied early release from prison.
Circuit Judge T. Michael Johnson rejected an appeal last week to reconsider the 10-year sentence he gave Angel Glenn, 23, for her role in the double murder at a house party where she had been performing.
"Although she may not believe it, the court has granted her mercy," Johnson said.
The appeal, filed by Orlando defense lawyer Eric Barker, was a last-ditch effort to win probation for Glenn, whose mother, siblings and boss at a Georgia coffeehouse also urged the judge to rethink the sentence.
Glenn, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit armed robbery, faced a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison but could have gotten life in prison — or the death penalty — if she had been prosecuted like her boyfriend, Donte Hall, and his twin brother Dante.
Donte, 25, was sentenced to death, Dante to life in prison.
Among letters of support for Glenn were two handwritten pages from Tamara Gillislee, 28, the niece of Anthony Bernard Blunt, 35, of Mount Dora, one of two men murdered at the party by the gun-wielding Orlando brothers.
"I forgive her and plan on keeping her in my prayers," Gillislee wrote of Glenn, whom she met in jail.
Gillislee, who was raised in the same home as her "Uncle B" and considered him a big brother, said she and Glenn studied the Bible together in the Lake County Jail, where Gillislee was awaiting a court date for a drug offense.
"We became friends as though we had been friends forever," she wrote.
Like Gillislee's letter, defense lawyer Barker focused his appeal on changes in Glenn, who transformed herself from a drug-abusing amateur stripper with a thug boyfriend to a working single mom walking a straight line.
"She has shed her old ways," Barker said.
While offenders often present themselves to a sentencing judge as profoundly changed, few match words with deeds, Barker said. He described Glenn as the rare exception who is truly sorry — and not just that she got caught.
Veronica Estrada, co-founder and president of Mocha Delites, a Georgia-based coffeehouse chain, wrote to the judge about Glenn, who worked so hard in the past year and a half that she was promoted to store manager.
"Anyone who spent even a small amount of time with her instantly feels her warmth and genuineness," Estrada said in the letter that also promised to keep Glenn's job open if the judge should change his mind.
Glenn's mother, Antoinella Neely, submitted a separate appeal asking for leniency.
Her letter included pictures of her daughter in more innocent times — a chubby-leg toddler in a Johnny Jumper, a preening elementary-school ballerina in a purple-sequined costume, a vivacious middle-school cheerleader.
Neely also wrote a poem asking the judge, "Remember when you were a teen-ager?"
Glenn's crimes occurred when she was 19 and dating Donte Hall, who was sentenced to death by Johnson after a lengthy trial that showed him to be the masked man who wielded an AK-47 at unarmed guests.
His blaze of gunfire killed Blunt and Kison Evans, 32, of Tavares, and critically wounded two other men, including Willie "Jay" Shelton, who hired Glenn and two girlfriends to entertain at the party on Gottsche Avenue.
'Bonnie and Clyde' reference
The judge said he weighed Glenn's remarkable change, but other factors were heavier.
In a four-page ruling, Johnson pointed out that weeks after the killings, an unrepentant Glenn wrote to Donte Hall — against the judge's orders — while Hall was in the Orange County Jail awaiting trial on an Orlando murder.
The handwritten heading of the letter was "Bonnie and Clyde," a reference that seemed to compare Glenn and Hall to the notorious killers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who terrorized banks during the Great Depression.
Mary Evans, mother of Kison Evans, also wrote to the judge, begging him not to be swayed by sympathetic pleas for Glenn. Evans said her son fathered 10 children — two of whom were born after his death.
"I help take care of my grands and Angel's mom got to do likewise," Evans wrote.