I grew up with hard working parents who taught me the value of working for and earning what you want in life. We were considered lower middle class. There was always running water, a roof over our heads, food on the table and clean clothes on our backs. We weren’t poor. There was a Friday night when I was 13 that I wanted to go to the movies with a bunch of people and a girl I liked. When I asked my mom for $10 to go, she told me she didn’t have it. That meant that if she gave me the money, we wouldn’t be able to pay a bill. That night I went out and got my first sack of weed to hustle and I never looked back.

I was born with a hustler’s spirit and was already entrepreneurially inclined but that was the motivation that I needed to push me to start making money for myself consistently. I got a quarter ounce of weed that night. Seven grams. It didn’t take me long to sell it and go get more.

I’ve never really been a big smoker. I have more of a motivated mentality and weed makes me feel lazy and slow. It didn’t take me long before I started picking up a couple ounces and breaking them down to dimes and doubling my money on each ounce. Selling was easy for me. I’d take markers to school with the weed wrapped in cellophane inside them and sometimes sell them in front of the teachers. I always made sure I wasn’t selling in big quantities. I had no problem putting in the work myself and making a lot of small sales which provided the most profit. Besides school I usually just took a bunch of weed bagged up to the game parties I’d normally go to anyways. It also allowed me to stay under the radar.

Fast forward to when I was 17 in ’09. Someone I went to school with introduced me to someone to do business with. When we met, we went to his apartment. He was 23. While we were there his wife came home and his kids came home from school. It lured me into a false sense of security, who would have bad intentions after revealing all this information: showing me where him and his family live, who his wife and kids are, where his kids go to school, and pretty much how to take advantage of all his vulnerabilities.

I ended up fronting him some items. The deal was he was supposed to pay me on the weekend. When the night came, and I was supposed to go to his apartment to get paid. He wasn’t answering the phone and then the guy who introduced me to him called me and said that he had told him he wasn’t paying for me.

Regardless of if it was drugs or not, with me being in that lifestyle, if I let someone get down on me then I might as well just give away everything I own because people will know they can take it with no consequences. Not only was I pissed because of my pride and respect, but I had to lay a demonstration down to let everyone what the consequences of doing me wrong is.

He lived on the second story of the apartment complex that had a little balcony. I got a rifle, posted up on the hood of a car in the parking lot, off to the side from his balcony so if he looked out, he wouldn’t see me. I had someone throw a brick to lure him to the outside sliding glass door. When he came to the door, I drew a bead on him, and I shot.

The way he dropped I thought I had hit him. I had started playing with guns at 14 and was a pretty good shot. My intention wasn’t to kill him. He ended up getting grazed in the chest. He called the cops and told them I did it. I never had any charges before it, I was completely unfamiliar with the system. I had never been to juvey, never did county time, never been found guilty of any misdemeanor.

I ended up getting 3.5 to 12 years for assault with intent to do great bodily harm, less than murder and felony firearms. I believe the fact that I got locked up at such a young age will come up a lot throughout this blog. I essentially learned how to be a man in prison which played a big part into my beliefs and morals.

Eventually, I do my time, see the parole board, and they tell me I have to do boot camp successfully to get my parole. I complete boot camp and have to go home on four months of house arrest. I was on the most intensive supervision. I had to report, get drug tested, and breathalyzed weekly. I also had curfews and my parole officer visited my house every other week. When I got off house arrest, I got a job, my driver’s license for the first time and got a nice car. I also had my family, friends, and a great girl by my side supporting me. I was doing everything I was supposed to.

I’m now out of prison for nine months and still on parole. I decided to go out to the bar with my friend and workout partner after leaving the gym. This is on a Wednesday night. We end up staying at the bar drinking until it closed. The bar emptied out and there was a bunch of people on the sidewalk outside. I went in to pay my tab and when I came back out my friend was gone. I saw someone who knew both of us and asked them where my friend went. They told me he was across the street and got into a fight.

I took off running to the opposite street corner where I see a group and see four guys facing my friend. I still have no idea what’s going on except that I’m going towards an altercation involving my friend to make sure he’s good. The four guys had their backs to me and when I ran up to the group, one of them made a move, so I reacted. I grabbed him by the shoulder to throw him off balance, flicked the blade open on my spring assisted Gerber folding knife and stabbed him eight times along the side until he fell. When he dropped, I stopped. I didn’t jump on top of him or kick him or anything else. It was instinctual, but when I looked up and saw the other guys looking at me with wide eyes and shock on their face it was a moment of clarity. I ran to my car and took off. The cops and ambulance were on the way because someone called on the original fight that I wasn’t a part of. I got pulled over almost right after leaving and got arrested. The victim went to the hospital for some stitches. His liver and kidney got nicked, but the medics said his life was never in danger

I was overcharged with assault with intent to murder. Even the victim testified that when he fell to the ground I stopped and no one pushed me off of him, which disproves any intent to murder. I also wasn’t granted any mitigating circumstances for the fact that my friend was in an outnumbered fight with the group. All four of the group testified that they were in a fight with him. Keep in mind that I hadn’t had enough time to reintegrate into society from prison yet. I was doing good but being out for nine months was nowhere near enough time to unlearn all the things that I had ingrained in myself to the point that they were not instinctual. If you haven’t read my post about violence it would add context to what I mean.

All through the court process I maintained that I wasn’t guilty of trying to kill him. When my court appointed attorney filed a motion to get it dropped to a lesser charge, they didn’t take me to the court date for the hearing and my attorney allowed the prosecutor to lie about the depth of the wound and the size of the knife. The wounds were 4-5 inches and the prosecutor said they were 6-7. The blade of the knife was 3.5 inches, a legal size to carry. The prosecutor said the blade was 4-5 inches. My attorney didn’t object to any of it even though the hospital made records of the wounds and they had the knife in evidence to prove the size. The charge was never dropped.

I have other serious issues in my case, but those are for another discussion. In the end my attorney convinced me to take a deal because he said there was no way I’d win at trial and I’d get 40 years. I got sentenced to 18.5 to 35 years, not including the year I did fighting my case because that time didn’t count since I was on parole, which is another issue because by law, they have to give me a violation hearing in 45 days, which never happened. I am absolutely working on getting back in court because of how wrong I was done.

Six and a half years later here I am. I am working on trying to rightfully get some time back and make a future for myself from in here, while constantly fighting against falling into all the negativity and bettering myself.

Dakota Turn

Source of featured image: Source: Gray News

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