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At the age of 7, I sat on the floor with my guardian, my everything laying in my arms as she took her last breathe, resulting from a fatal gunshot wound afflicted by my father.
At the age of 12, parentless, I had experienced the streets of Philly, living in the well-known Richard Allen public housingsubdivision without any parental guidance and found myself in unfavorable situations. Situations that a 12 year old should never have to endure, honestly an adult should be spared these moments as well. Life was out of control. At the age of 13, I am a young proud father of a bouncing baby girl and now a newbie to the Virginia life residing in yet another well-known public housing subdivision, Ida Barbour. My harsh street life, unstable school career and unmanageable behavior continued in my young life of terror, heartache and let downs. I am proud to say I didaccomplish becoming a well-known track and football star during my high school years.
At the age of 18, I am a young proud father of 4 kids and one on the way, including twin daughters and carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I struggled financially with taking care of my responsibilities while trying to maintain the life of a teenager. I acquired friends that was not beneficial regarding my path to success and led me events of crime.
At the age of 19, I was being let off of the state bus at my new residence, maximum security Wallens Ridge Correctional,to start my 104 year sentence that included crimes I did NOT commit. Yes, I was given LIFE at the age of 18 for horrific crimes in which I had tangible evidence validating my innocence.
Christmas time 1998, one of my co-defendants informed myself and another friend of some homes that would be perfect to break into, obtain items that could be pawned and use the money to provide gifts for our loved ones. Due to it being the largest holiday for any child and the fact I had 4 this plan sounded like the right option at the time. Me being misled, lacking parental guidance, young and feeling the pressure of the holidays agreed to the plans...of robbery ONLY.
Unfortunately unknown to myself, my co-defendants decided to commit disrespectful and unforgivable acts against one of the victims while I remained in another part of the house with her husband.
During my interrogation I experienced the denial of a lawyer, police brutality, stacking of charges and an obvious excessive amount of inadequate counsel. These acts were captured on video but was never viewed
by my public defender despite two notifications received by the police department requesting an appointment to be set for review. As an effort to clear my name of the wrongly convicted charges, in 2016 my co- defendant submitted a notarized affidavit stating sole guilt to the charges and confirmed I had no knowledge nor was I in the dwelling at the time of the events.I have been incarcerated for 23 years. Each day for the past 22 years I have lived my life to the best of my ability while being reminded of my reality. Reality of being sentenced to death behind these walls. Reality that included my in ability to be a part of my children’s daily lives nor be a grandfather to my 8 grandkids. My dream has allows been to be able to pour all of the love, wisdom and protection into my grandkids since I was denied the opportunity for my children. I am happy to say as of a year ago that reality has taken a turn for the better and I foresee a promising future. Even thought his bright light of promise didn’t occur until a year ago, I still managed to achieve the following while being incarcerated as a “lifer”:

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