Sondra London has nothing on this woman. Loving a man who murders is weird enough. In Colorado Springs, Jennifer Reali didn’t fall for a man quite like that; instead she murdered for him. Her husband Ben, was an army captain and a strict, controlling man who continually abused her emotionally and verbally in front of their two children. Added to this, Reali felt trapped in her marriage and believed she’d wasted her life potential on her cruel military husband. With the right influence, Reali could become a ticking time bomb. That influence entered Reali’s life in the form of Brian Hood. Reali met Brian Hood, a handsome 30-something insurance salesman, during her abusive marriage. When Hood entered her life, Reali was starved for love. Hood was unhappy in his own marriage. His wife Diane had lupus, a disease of the immune system. Diane wasn’t the same woman he’d married. Early in the marriage Dianne had stayed home to raise Hood’s three children, Jarrod, now 10, Lesley, 8, and Joshua, 3. Now she required constant care and was literally withering away in front of him, or so he said.
The affair began when Hood and Reali had sex in Reali’s home on top of the laundry machine. For Reali, there was no turning back at this point. In the weeks that followed, she and Hood had sex in her Jeep Cherokee. Hood proved to be a loving man who lavished her with compliments about everything and anything. Hood also insulted her husband, telling Reali he didn’t deserve her. I do agree with that. Hood however was equally dominating as Reali’s husband but so smitten was Reali, she wasn’t aware of it.
Reali cloaked their relationship in religious teachings. He insisted their affair was ordained by God. Reali actually believed him. As the months went by, Hood got weirder and weirder. He informed Reali that his sick wife needed to die. It was God’s will after all. He wanted Reali to pull the trigger of course. He simply wasn’t up to it. Reali actually believed Hood, that killing his poor wife was the right thing to do. She actually believed murdering Diane would be a mercy killing and that she would be helping her. Hood conveniently overlooked the fifth commandment of the Bible: Thou shalt not kill. So did Reali. It didn ‘t occur to Reali that if it was God’s will for Diane to die, He probably would have done the deed Himself. On the one hand, it’s understandable that Reali fell for Hood’s bull. She was already an abused woman, her self-esteem all but obliterated. Now she had Hood’s so-called love and Reali was desperate to keep it. Reali would anything, even murder to keep her lover.
On September 10, 1990, Reali followed Diane Hood to a lupus support group meeting. Wearing a ski mask and her husband’s army fatigues, Reali waited for her in the bushes. When Diane and a friend reached her, Reali shot her once. Diane fell to the ground, pleading for her life. While she writhed in fear and agony, Reali shot her again then ran off. The following morning, Reali realized the full extent of what she had done and she went to police to confess to the crime. She was horrified with herself. Reali tried to explain her actions but couldn’t. She was still under Hood’s control. Later, relatives and police discovered her involvement with Hood and it made sense. Hood of course claimed innocence, stating it was Reali’s idea. During the trial, Reali’s former mother-in-law, Renata Reali scoffed at the idea that Reali was brainwashed into committing murder. Renata testified that her daughter-in-law was “domineering” and her friends called her “the General,” Renata also insisted Reali could “fake her way through anything.” Ben, always the loyal husband, testified Reali was prone to violence and threw a steak knife at him.
Incredibly, Dianne’s brother, David Moore, support Hood during the trial, stating “I don’t believe Brian is guilty. This woman took my sister from me. Now she’s trying to take Brian away from me. She’s ruined our family.” Has everyone somehow involved in this crime completely lost their mind? Despite Moore’s impassioned plea, Hood was found guilty of criminal solicitation and murder conspiracy. He received 37 years in prison. He would be eligible for release in 12 years. Today, he is still incarcerated after he tried to escape from prison in 1997. Let him rot there, I say. Reali was convicted of first degree murder and received life in prison. Later the sentence was commuted to 20 years. Her family never recovered from Reali’s actions. They never understood how this crime could have happened. Coercive persuasion is a tactic used by many salesmen. It appears that this technique also applied to this case.
Dianne Hood’s murder was dubbed The Fatal Attraction Murder. It appeared in People magazine and several newspapers around the country. Hood was denied parole in 1990. Reali was denied parole in 1990 and her next parole date is 2030.