Inmate in hopsital wants to go home to die

11:30 AM, Aug 26, 2006   |    comments
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Grand Rapids - Relatives of convicted killer Carla Ringleka are asking Governor Jennifer Granholm to use her power and set the inmate free so she can go home to die in Montcalm County. "Carla is a sweet, wonderfully natured person," says Joan Baynton, Ringleka's aunt. Carla Ringleka, 58, is serving a 20 year sentence for conspiring with her boyfriend to murder her husband in 1999. Now, less than 7 years into the sentence, doctors say she is dying of cancer. Her aunt reads aloud from a letter written by the inmate's physician, Dr. Elaina Gartner. "The liver disease has recently progressed. I anticipate she will not live much longer and will pass away within the next days to weeks." Ringleka is now gravely ill in a Detroit hospital. Relatives admit it may be too late for her to come home before she dies. "It could be too late," says Baynton. "But she could be transported by ambulance or something so at least she could be with her children." Ringleka has 3 adult children and 4 grandchildren. The state parole board rejected a request to release the inmate early. Her family is hoping Governor Granholm will overrule the board. "How much can it hurt to allow a dying prisoner who is no threat to society out a week or two before they die so they can die surrounded by some family," asks Baynton. In 1999 Ringleka gave her 38-year-old boyfriend $450.00 to hire a pair of Detroit hit men to murder her husband, Howard. They used an ax. But relatives say Ringleka was a battered wife, is no risk to society and is near death. They say she qualifies for a medical commutation of her sentence. "Show some mercy so she could be given this time with her children," says Baynton. Her office says the governor has the request under consideration. The brother of the murdered man says he thinks Ringleka should remain in custody. Why, he wonders, should she get another chance to be free.

Phil Dawson

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