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Prisoner Rights Activist incarcerated with grave untreated medical conditions

Gerry Bello

Angela Antoine has many things going for her. She has a new husband of two months, Danny Antoine. She has an accounting degree and is working towards her second degree in Political Science. She works with her faith community in Virginia and with local and national legislators to build re-entry programs for former prisoners. She has received awards from the City of Hampton Virginia and by all appearances works tirelessly to help others move forward in a positive direction with their lives. Angela will be dead in weeks from at least one medical condition that is being deliberately left untreated by the Chesapeake County Jail.

Angela is listed in jail under her maiden name as Angela Murphy. She has been incarcerated for a probation violation since June 27. She made the same mistake that many people make, trusting the word of a public defender. Angela gave a ride to an acquaintence who needed to stop a Walmart. That friend shopped, handed her the bag and fled out the door. Security footage would prove this. Angela never left the store with the merchandise and thus never actually committed a theft. She just stood there confused. The merchandise was never concealed and was in a bag in her hand for literally seconds before she was arrested by Walmart security. She was Walmarting while black.

Because she had been a model citizen, helping others and giving back to her church and community, she took the advice of her public defender and plead guilty. She was lead to believe she would receive thirty days and just get it over with. This was not the case. She was labeled a habitual offender and received five years. Four years and six months of those five are suspended, but there is no telling what arbitrary changes Southern Justice will impose on a black person at any given time.

Angela's existing medical conditions virtually guarantee that six months is a death sentence. She is pregnant with a fallopian pregnancy, which can be fatal if untreated. No attention nor treatment plan has been given for this immediate threat to her life.

She has other existing medical conditions. She has survived two heart attacks and has thrombosis balloons in her arms and chest. She suffers from lymphedema in both her legs and arms, which makes a person very susceptible to infection, especially under jail conditions. Treatment of her medical conditions is beyond the capacity of a county jail.

Because America, unlike Angela is having a lengthy weekend celebration of it's independence, the Court of Judge E. Preston Grissom could not be reached for comment. The jail hung up on me after keeping me on hold longer than it took to write this article.

Everything in this story points to a legal lynching. An unarrested co-defendant, a public defender who bullied a plea rather than taking a trial with an easy win and a judge who changed the tune after a plea bargin has been made strongly suggest a lethal setup. Because of the Commonwealth of Virginia's general record on law enforcement transparency, the truth will have difficulty seeing the light of day.

Prisoner Rights advocates and re-entry activists from as far away as Ohio and Texas have been rallying so that Angela does see the light day rather than a dark unmarked hole in the potter's field.


[Update #1 July 12 2016 Angela Antoine's legal and medical conditions have slightly improved. Constant calls from activists around the country have gotten the attention of jail medical staff. At least one of the blood clots appears to be breaking up.  Her previous attorney has been replaced by a new one who appears to at least have a pulse.  That Attorney, Edward Fiorella, was left with a near empty case file and has worked to get as much medical documentation as possible and letters attesting to Angela's character are pouring in.  Fiorella is attempting a new legal strategy of withdrawing her appeal at least temporarily and relying on documentation to win her medical release.  That hearing will be on Thursday July 14th]