Late 1993. Alamosa, Colorado: Friends of 51-year-old artist Peter Michael Green reported him missing. No one had seen him since Nov. 11, and they were worried. But an initial search had turned up nothing.
Then, in early 1994, his friends made a gruesome discovery: in a locker in Green’s home, wrapped in a blanket, was his bullet-riddled torso. The gunshots were from a .25-caliber handgun.
Now a murder investigation, the search for the rest of Green’s remains kicked into high gear. In a remote area far away from his home, police discovered his head.
Two questions remained: where was the rest of him, and who did this to him?
The answer to both questions came two days later, in the form of an anonymous tip: someone reported what they thought were human bones in a dumpster at a local apartment complex. Sure enough, the bones were from human legs, stripped of their flesh. Sheriff’s Captain Les Sharff would later testify, “The flesh and the meat were off the legs. They had been totally cut away from the bones themselves, from the ankle up.”
The apartment complex, coincidentally, was where Green’s ex-girlfriend, Carolyn Gloria Blanton, lived. On Jan. 16, 1994, Police got a warrant to search her apartment.
What they found was almost too gruesome to be believed. In Blanton’s apartment, they found human body parts — later identified as belonging to Green — pickled in jars. They also found a hatchet, knives, forceps, a homemade silencer, and a .25-caliber pistol.
They also found a large pot filled with stew on the stove. Nearby was a bowl containing some of the same stew. The main ingredient: bite-sized chunks of Green’s flesh.
Blanton was arrested and charged with first-degree murder for killing, dismembering, and cannibalizing Green. Blanton pled innocent by reason of insanity, and the judge halted the trial in 1997 after doctors declared her mentally unfit to stand trial. The judge ordered her to be committed indefinitely to the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo.
But her story doesn’t end there.
Under a psychiatrists care and with regular medication, her mental health seemed to improve, and in 1999, she changed her name to Jane Lynn Woodry.
Over time, she was able to win more freedom within the institution. Then in 2005, thanks to a controversial decision, she was allowed to move into an apartment off the state hospital campus. Conditions for her release included holding a job, attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, receiving regular injections to treat her schizophrenia, and meeting with her case manager three times a week. Woodry’s psychiatrist said that when she is on medication, she is not dangerous to herself or others.
Woodry said that she was “deeply ashamed” of what she had done and claimed, “The person who killed Peter Green is not me.”
With this decision, Woody is now one of a very rare kind of criminal: a cannibal who walks free.