Full Circle: A True Story of Murder, Lies, and Vindication
is Gloria Killian's firsthand account of her wrongful conviction, imprisonment, and her release sixteen years later. An anonymous tip leads police to suspect that Gloria masterminded a robbery plot that ended in murder, and the jury convicts Gloria on false testimony and very little evidence. Thankfully, a woman she meets in prison believes her story and advocates for her freedom. New Horizon Press published the nonfiction account in 2012.
In December of 1981, Gary Masse and his cousin Stephen DeSantis break into the home of Ed and Grace Davies in Rosemont. Disguised as telephone repairmen, they creep into the home, overwhelm, and hogtie the Davies. The robbers then ransack the house and steal six suitcases of silver, returning to their hostages only to shoot Ed twice in the head and Grace once in the temple. Ed does not survive, but Grace does. After the robbers flee, Grace manages to crawl out of the house and find help. When the police come looking for Masse, his wife, Joanne, tells them that a woman named Gloria masterminded the robbery. Masse turns himself in on December 17, 1981.
Meanwhile, Gloria Killian is on a leave of absence from her last year at law school. The same day that Masse surrenders, the police arrest Gloria and begin questioning her about her involvement in the robbery. Gloria tells them that she wasn't at the robbery, nor did she know anything about it.
Gloria is held for four months without bail. She is given a preliminary hearing, and the judge dismisses her charges.
During Masse's trial, the jury convicts him of first-degree murder. He contacts the detective on his case, Detective Biondi before he is sentenced to see if he can negotiate a deal. The District Attorney's office tells Masse that they won't promise him any leniency until they've heard what information he has. Masse is sentenced to life without parole on May 16, 1983.
Four days after his sentencing, Masse speaks again with detectives. In exchange for implicating his cousin and Gloria Killian in the robbery and murder, Masse wants his sentence reduced from life to twelve years. The detectives can't guarantee Masse a reduction in his sentence, but they promise to advocate for him to the District Attorney's office. With this promise, Masse implicates Robert DeSantis, Stephen DeSantis, and Gloria Killian.
In June of 1983, Gloria is arrested again and is again held without bail. She testifies at her preliminary, five-day hearing in August of 1983. Three of those days consist of Masse's testimony against Gloria. A month later, Stephen, Robert, and Gloria are all charged with first-degree murder, burglary, robbery, grand theft auto, attempted murder, and conspiracy. Masse's story is that Gloria had approached the Davies' door in an attempt to gain entry and had failed. Neither Robert nor Stephen DeSantis implicated Gloria in the crime, with Stephen testifying that he has never met nor heard of her.
Before Gloria's trial, the prosecutor sends a letter to Judge DeCristoforo. The prosecutor writes that he intends to support Masse's resentencing in return for his testimony. The prosecutor fails to disclose the letter to Gloria's defense team.
In January of 1986, Gloria's trial begins. Masse testifies that Gloria was the mastermind of the plot, that she had visited the Davies' home with him on more than one occasion, and that she had called him after the robbery. The prosecutor is quick to clarify for the jury that neither the District Attorney's office nor the Judge has power over Masse's sentence.
In February of 1986, Gloria is found guilty on all charges, and a judge sentences her a few months later. She is given seven years for attempted murder and twenty-five years to life for murder. Masse writes a letter to the prosecutor's investigator in which he angrily asks why he wasn't given his resentencing and mentions committing perjury. "I even lied my ass off on the stand for you people," he writes. This letter also was not disclosed to Gloria's defense team.
Having a background in law, Gloria spends her time in prison helping other women file their appeals. She primarily works with victims of domestic abuse. She is very popular among the inmates.
In the early 1990s, Joyce Ride begins visiting prisons as part of a program called "Friends Outside." Joyce is especially interested in why women who have been victims of domestic abuse so often end up in prison. She begins working alongside Gloria to help her fellow inmates, and the two become fast friends.
Joyce is soon confident that Gloria is innocent, and she decides to use her finances to help. She hires a private investigator and spends $100,000 in a ten-year battle to prove her friend's innocence. Joyce's private investigator discovers the letters that were withheld from the defense team, enabling Gloria's lawyer to appeal her case. The court dismisses all charges against Gloria, and the State Bar of California later brings charges against the prosecutor in Gloria's case.
Gloria now lives with her friend, Joyce Ride, and another former inmate. She devotes her time to raising money for women in prisons and founded the Action Committee for Women in Prison.