In the course of one day, we make many decisions. Some of these we make with a serious amount of forethought and prayer. Some are made spontaneously with little, or no, thought as to the consequences or impact our decisions will have - not only for ourselves, but also for the many others whose lives are intertwined with ours.
On September 15, 2001, Justin's poor decision changed his life forever......This is where his journey begins.
At age nineteen, at the height of his defiance, a lifestyle unbecoming of who he actually is, Justin made a thoughtless choice to take some so called friends to score drugs. On the way, he was asked to pull over. He decided to wait in his car while these friends got out and at that point he notice something was amiss. What was to be a ride to pick up drugs turned into the shooting of an innocent person that ended in death. It also turned into a 2nd degree murder charge and a life sentence without the possibility of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. Now, this kindhearted young man has now served over 12 years of his life behind prison walls at Louisiana State Penitentiary.
Under Louisiana Statutory Law charges can be either first degree or second degree. Both carry a life sentence.
Second Degree Murder carries the mandatory penalty of life imprisonment without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. The sentence for second degree murder is automatic.
His role in this tragic event was of no ill intent. While he admittedly takes responsibility for putting himself in this precarious situation and among people of questionable character, he did not plan, participate or commit the act in which he was convicted of. His involvement extends to nothing more than accessory after the fact. He should not have to accept a life sentence for someone else's actions.
The Louisiana State Law is harsh at best and has condemned him to a life without the benefit of time served or the possibility to thrive and live a better life outside prison walls. He carries the burden of the innocent loss of life and this burden will be with him until the end of his, a life sentence of its own.
Justin is considered to be a compassionate and spiritual human being, to this day people still have a hard time believing that he was involved with what happened, they know the kind of person he is, and that we would NEVER intentionally cause harm to anyone. He is a caring, thoughtful and loving person.
During his incarceration, Justin has taken every opportunity offered to him in order to gain education, personal growth and to become a mentor to others.
He has earned an Associates Degree and Bachelor's Degree of Arts in Christian Ministry from Leavell College Of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He serves as an inmate minister in the Chaplain's department. He also served as a mentor for the program Power-of-Choice Workshop. Justin also served two years with the Re-entry program.
Currently Justin is a Hospice Care Volunteer. The Angola Hospice Care facility was established in 1997 and is a program where inmates care for dying inmates. Please see our Serving Life Page for more information.
Freedom is the right to question and change the
established way of doing things.