Sister: Prison brass forcing killer Piper Rountree to choose Christianity — or be deprived of sleep

Posted at 6:42 PM, Jan 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-09 18:43:52-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- In court documents dating back three years, convicted killer Piper Rountree claims she has been in the cross-hairs of prison brass.

Rountree's worried sister, who backs up her claims, spoke with CBS 6 News' Greg McQuade on Thursday.

Tina Seegers, Rountree' sister, is concerned about her sister’s health and well-being behind bars.

“I miss her terribly. I would like to be able to touch her,” said Seegers, who spoke by phone from Michigan. “Her spirits are down. She has headaches. She has lethargy and no one is doing anything about it. I don’t know what to do.”

Seegers contends the Virginia Department of Corrections is depriving her of her basic Constitutional rights.

“It makes me feel like for some reason she is being targeted personally and that is scary. And that is real scary in fact,” says Seegers.

Rountree was convicted of ambushing her ex-husband and University of Richmond professor Frederic Jablin in the driveway of his Henrico home after traveling from Texas in October of 2004. The couple’s three children slept inside Jablin’s home and were not hurt.

The murder trial generated national headlines and Rountree was sentenced to life in prison.

Since then Seegers said her sister has been passing the time meditating, practicing yoga and tutoring other inmates at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women.

Her sister said the Department of Corrections is intimidated by her sister, who was once a prosecutor in Texas.

“Oh yes, there are a lot people there that don’t like her because they do see her as a threat.”

Rountree has filed complaints with US District Court in Roanoke about alleged mistreatment in prison. Seeger also claims her sister, who is Buddhist, is forced to choose Christianity or be deprived of sleep, mail and food.

“She doesn’t get mad and scream and yell because she knows that doesn’t accomplish anything. But she writes a lot of letters.”

Seeger who has not seen her sister since the sentencing vows to fight for Rountree's rights.

“She is my best friend and she is a remarkable person,” Seegers said. “She needs her sleep and she is not getting it right now. And it terrifies me.”

CBS 6 News reached out to the Department of Corrections seeking comment, but we were told the DOC does not comment on an inmate's legal matters.

A judge in Roanoke recently ruled against Rountree saying there was no basis to her claims of mistreatment.

As for Tina Seegers, she will keep supporting her sister with a letter and email campaign.