Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Cynthia Galens

Cynthia Galens is a survivor of three abusive relationships, including two marriages. The third relationship ended in the death of Kevin Stack, for which she is serving a sentence of 23 years. Cynthia acknowledges that she poisoned Kevin after he had threatened her life and the life of her young daughter. Her intent was for him to be taken to the hospital , so she could make her escape. She expresses tremendous heartfelt remorse for her action which resulted in his death. Cynthia is 60 years old and uses a cane after a knee replacement. She will be eligible for parole in 2030, at the age of 72.

Prior to this incident, Cynthia had never had any contact with the criminal justice system. She grew up in a small town and received an AA degree in graphic arts, and then worked for the Veterans Administration for 29 years. By 2004, she had been married and divorced twice (spanning 23 years) and had two children. Both marriages were characterized by abuse – physical violence in the first one and severe emotional and mental abuse in the second. Cynthia suffered years of abuse, and knew nothing else in domestic relationships. In 2005, she lost her son, then 19, to a drug overdose. She and her daughter, then 14, struggled alone to cope with this unthinkable loss. In her own words, against her better judgment and during a time of extreme dysfunction, she began a relationship with Kevin Stack who was being treated for substance use and psychiatric issues at the VA Hospital where she worked. She invited him into their lives and their home. Kevin physically, verbally, and emotionally abused her 14 year old daughter. She did what any mother would do — go to any length to protect her child’s life, after he told her “I’m going to show your daughter what it feels like to be hurt by a man”. She knew Kevin was serious about hurting her daughter after he showed up outside her school. Two months later, he told her “You’ll never be rid of me”. Despite numerous attempts to seek assistance, the restraining orders were ultimately dropped when she didn’t cooperate fully with law enforcement. She did not want him to be incarcerated, she just wanted him to be unable to hurt her family. She admits that she poisoned him in the hopes that he would become sick and have to be removed from the home so she could escape with her daughter.

After Kevin died, Cynthia was arrested and charged with killing him. She chose to go to trial and took the stand to testify on her own behalf. Testimony by others as to Kevin’s abuse was not allowed by the Judge, and she was portrayed as a violent murderer who planned to kill Kevin and let him die a terrible death. This is an inaccurate portrayal of Cynthia who visited Kevin in the hospital until his family decided it was time to let him go.

Cynthia has been in prison since 2010. In that time her daughter has become a grown woman with a successful marriage, and Cynthia is the proud grandmother to two grandsons. The separation from her family, especially given the loss of her son many years ago, has been traumatic for all. Cynthia and her daughter remain close, but the prison is a five hour drive from their hometown and it’s difficult for the family to visit more than once or twice a year. Since being in prison, Cynthia has engaged in all programs that are available — Alternatives to Violence, Parenting Through Film, and an Inmate Program Associate Program helping others to prepare for their GED’s. She works as the School Principal’s Academic Clerk and is currently in therapy, where she learns more about domestic violence and abusive relationships. When she’s not at work or therapy she spends her time in her cell creating beautiful artwork. After her release, her goals are to be with her loving family, with whom she is very close, and to be an advocate for other domestic violence survivors. She has learned a lot about how abusive relationships work and how to avoid them in the future. Currently, her earliest possible release date will be when she is 72 years old, but with a reduction in her sentence, she can once again be a part of her family and her community.

Explore more

Annette “Annie” Farrell

Annette “Annie” Farrell is a proud survivor and mother of four young children, currently serving a term of 15 years…

Shantell Green

Shantell Green is incarcerated for protecting herself against an abuser who would have killed her while her four children watched.…

Tanisha Davis

Tanisha Davis is a caring 32 year-old single mother serving a 14-year sentence in Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women…

Joanne Armour

Joanne Armour is serving 20 years to life for defending herself and her 14 year old daughter against an attack…

Breanna Simpson

Breanna Simpson is serving 25 years for defending herself against a man who tried to kill her on numerous occasions.…

Cynthia Galens

Cynthia Galens Cynthia Galens is a survivor of three abusive relationships, including two marriages. The third relationship ended in the…

Laura Martin

Laura Martin Laura Martin is serving a 20-year sentence for killing her father, a man who had physically and sexually…

Brenda Hartman

Brenda Hartman Brenda Hartman once wondered, “Do I have ‘Please abuse me’ written on my forehead?” Brenda grew up in…

Theresa Debo

Theresa Debo Theresa Debo has survived a lifetime of horrific abuse. Now 14 years into a 22-years-to-life sentence for second…

Kelly Forbes

Kelly Forbes In 2001, Kelly Forbes immigrated from her native Trinidad with her young daughter to Brooklyn. She was a…

Darlene Benson-Seay

Darlene Benson-Seay Though she didn’t do it, Darlene Benson-Seay is incarcerated for killing her boyfriend, Ronnie, who abused her violently…

Sherrita Crumpler

Sherrita Crumpler Sherrita Crumpler is a 35-year-old woman currently serving a 17 Year sentence at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. A…

Kelly Harnett

Kelly Harnett Kelly Harnett was there in 2010 when her abuser murdered someone in a New York park. Because she…

Jessica Paradiso

Jessica Paradiso The first time Jessica Paradiso’s partner hit her was when she picked him up from a stint in…

Betsy Ramos

Betsy Ramos Betsy Ramos has been behind bars for 22 years for second-degree manslaughter. At 15 years, she had served…