Paula Cooper was imprisoned most of her life for killing a Bible teacher. Without mental health treatment, she couldn’t survive life outside.
Ms. Cooper’s history was daunting. Her mother tried to commit suicide and kill Ms. Cooper and Ms. LaBroi when they were young. She put the girls in the car with her and ran the engine in a closed garage. Ms. Cooper’s father, Herman, now deceased, issued daily beatings, often with an extension cord, Ms. LaBroi said.