by Kris Russell

I lived a double-life in the freeworld. One was as a perfect husband, father, brother and friend. Sadly, the other one
 was destined for coming to prison. I was a good liar, or so I thought. It all came to a screeching hault when my
 two worlds collided and came crashing down around me. The real me was exposed. You know, I even had myself convinced that I was the good guy, but I finally had to face reality. Even then, I was still in denial. I didn’t want to accept responsibility for my actions, and instead, I placed blame on other people. It was a long fall, but here’s how it all began.

I started using drugs at an age when most kids haven’t even tried smoking cigarettes for the first time. I tried weed when I was 13, and by the time I was 16, I was using meth. With the exception of a five-year stretch from when I was 22 to 27 years old, I stayed hooked to drugs until the day I came to prison. Even during those five years,
 I kept smoking weed.

My wife, Misty, and I had our first son on August 29, 2002. His name was Kaden Blake Russell. I was so excited when she told me she was pregnant, and even more when we found out it was a boy. I believe every man wants a boy to carry on his name, and maybe to be the football, basketball, baseball and track star he was. Misty had occasionaly done drugs with me until she found out she was pregnant with Kaden. She just quit, cold turkey, and she really tried her best to get me to quit, too. I really tried, and even though it took me awhile, I DID quit the hard stuff. By 
that time, “the hard stuff” consisted of meth, coke, ecstasy, acid, and, Special-K, which is a horse tranquilizer! I wasn’t much of a drinker or a pill-popper. And I didn’t smoke cigarettes, either. But I never quit smoking weed.

Everything was great. We were young and in love, having our first child. We went to all the doctor appointments, and did all the new-parent stuff- buying baby clothes, diapers, and toys. We had a baby shower, which I found out too late that the dads aren’t supposed to go to, but I was there, loud and proud. The whole family was excited, because Kaden would be the first baby born into our generation for both
 of our families- the first grandson, son and nephew.

When the big day finally arrives, we get to the hospital, and both of us are at once excited and scared. Because of some complications, Misty has to have a C-section, which
 we thought was good, because it’s less stress on the baby, anyway. When he is delivered, they take him to do these tests, and so we waited and waited for them to bring him into our room. But instead of our son, they bring the news that our little baby boy has a chromosome disorder called Trisomey-13, which is “not compatible with life”.

We were devestated. Our whole happy world had just flipped upside down. They told us Kaden wasn’t supposed to live through the night. He was in ICU, and we were allowed to go and visit him. In fact, the hospital allowed us to stay there with him. One day turned into three. Three turned into five, as baby Kaden fought for his life. The hospital finally told us we couldn’t stay there any more, so for the next couple of days, we got a motel room. Our money ran out after that, and we lived 60 miles away from the hospital there in Abilene. Since we couldn’t go home, we started sleeping in our car in the hospital’s parking lot. You can imagine how cramped we were in my little 1996 Mazda 626, and on top of that, Misty was still in a lot of pain from her C-section. We did this for about 10 days, staying with our son during the day, sleeping in the car at night.

During this time, Kaden was such a little fighter. He always looked so happy and content, and he never really cried. The poor kid had all these tubes hooked up to him- one for breathing, an I.V., one through his bellybutton for feeding. Trisomey-13, it turns out, is a chromosome disorder which causes the body to have one too many X or Y chromosomes. I can’t remember for sure which one, but what it did was prevent his heart, lungs, and kidneys from forming correctly. There had already been a few times during those 19 days that they’d had to revive him.

On that 19th day, Misty and I had gone to get something to eat. The hospital called us and said we needed to come back to the hospital as fast as we could, and we went as fast as the old Mazda could go. His condition had worsened, they told us, and we needed to make a decision. We could either leave him on life support since his heart and lungs weren’t giving him enough blood and oxygen to survive, or we could “let him go”. That is the hardest decision any parent can possibly face. We prayed, truly seeking God’s will and His guidance in making the choice. Even though Kaden didn’t seem to show any signs of physical or emotional stress, we knew he was suffering, and we wondered how it could be right to let him continue that way.

At that time, I wasn’t walking with Jesus. Now I have
a better understanding of Christ, and I know, deep down 
in my spirit, that Jesus was there with us the whole time. HE was comforting Kaden. HE was keeping him from suffering. When we made up our minds, each of us took turns holding our little son until he took his last breath. I pray no
 one ever has to go through that. We’re not supposed to bury our children. They’re supposed to out live us.

I knew I had to be strong for Misty. I took it hard, but she took it harder, like it seems the mother always does. Losing a child is not something you really ever get over. You just learn to live with it and cope.

During this time, trying to console Misty, and being there for her to lean on, I think I never really grieved myself like I should have. I bottled it all up inside, keeping it all to myself. Many years later, I wrote a song about Kaden called “19 Days”. I’ll put it at the end of this letter. Song writing has just been a good way for me to deal with things, and I’ve ended up doing a lot of it.

After awhile, our lives went on. Life has to. We ended up having two more wonderful, beautiful, healthy children. Payton was born in March of 2004. He is 13 years old now! His little sister, and our first little girl was born in July of 2006. She’s 11. They are the greatest gift God could have ever given us outside of what Jesus did on Calvary. Thank You, Jesus!

Now, let me go back and tell you about the other me, the one I tried my best to keep hidden away. Like I said, I’d quit doing meth for that five year span, but that stuff kept calling my name. I started using it again. At first, it was just a little. But then, I used a little more, and a little more. Then, a lot more. I went from just smoking or snorting it to shooting it up. Through all this, I worked my regular job and kept up the appearance of a normal life. But I couldn’t keep it up for long. 1 wasn’t fooling anyone but myself. I lost a bunch of weight, and when people started noticing, I told them I was working out and running, but no one was ever seeing me in the gym, plus I was losing my muscle tone. AND my fat.

Misty gave, me chance after chance to tell her what she already knew. I lied to her straight through my teeth, trying to make her belive she was crazy, and I’m not so sure I didn’t convince her at times that she was. We fought constantly.
 She had every right to be mad at me, to accuse me, to leave me, and finally, that’s exactly what she did. I didn’t want to see her and the kids out looking for a place to sleep, so 
I moved out and left her the house. I was so deluded that 
I convinced myself this was something I really wanted. “The grass is greener on the other side,” I kept telling myself. But then you get there, and you look back at where you came from, and that grass you just left looks pretty damn green.

I wanted to go back so bad, but it was too late. There was already a fence up. I didn’t just leave Misty, I’d left my kids! I didn’t realize what I was holding in my hands until I’d lost it all. I spiraled downward out of control. I’d already brushed with the law, and they had me on probation. I failed a piss test, and I don’t know how, but got reinstated on my probation. That should have been an eye-opener, too. Instead, it made me think I was untouchable, so I continued doing drugs, and I went out and found me a girlfriend who would do them with me. I thought, “Everything’s cool, now.” In between binges, I’d sober up long enough to visit with my kids, but as soon as they went home, I’d be getting high again. I missed my family so bad, and wanted them back so much it ached. I got depressed and tried taking my own life. It seems everything I tried didn’t work.

Obviously, I failed another piss test. This time, I go 
to jail, and I’m in the county for two years and four months. Doing county time is hard, because you are crowded in a cell with 8 other guys, 23 hours a day. Maybe, you get rec one hour a day. The food was usually pretty good, especially 
if you were a trustee, although I wasn’t during this time. Even though Misty and I were still broke up through all of this, she STILL brings our kids to visit me every week. Don’t tell me the Lord doesn’t know what He’s doing in my
 life. He knew who my soul mate is, who my “other rib” belongs to. Misty is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. Through all my crap, Misty has stayed down with me. This wouldn’t be the last time, either as you’ll see later on.
I go to court, finally, and get reninstated back out 
on probation. Misty even lets me move back in with her. Now, God has restored my family back to me, and that’s not all. Let me tell you this.

While in county jail, I went to church every week. I
 read my Bible some, and I prayed, asking Jesus into my heart. But, I didn’t really give my heart to Jesus. I sure didn’t make Him the Lord of my life. I was like the seed that fell on the stony places in Matthew 13:5-6. “Some fell on stony places, where they had not much earth; and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth; and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had
 not root, they withered away.” I didn’t keep Jesus the head of my life. I knew what it took to be a Christian, but I didn’t DO what it took to be a Christian.

Not only did God restore my family, He-provided me with
 a great job. I even had a nice truck, only two years old.
 I was driving around in a 2008 when I’d never had anything newer than a ’99. You see, God gives us the desires of our hearts. The devil gives you the desires of your flesh, and boy, did he know what I liked. Constantly, drugs and women were before my eyes, teasing me. I finally gave in, and when I fell, I fell hard, because I’d built my house on shifting sand. I didn’t fill the void from casting that spirit of addiction away who gets you by the balls and won’t let go. And since I didn’t fill it with Christ, when it came back,
 it found an empty house and brought seven more even more powerful than itself.

Misty left me again, and I went on that downward spiral, except this time, it was like I was on a rocket ship. I was shooting dope so much I blew out my veins. I met this girl, Jenny, and she was such a great person, but she was 
on this same trajectory as me, and we were both flying first-class. I fell in love with her, and lied to myself believing that God had put her in my life, because we immediately bonded. She got me all right. She knew what I liked physically, sexually, and mentally. I understand now that it wasn’t of God; it was of Satan, because he knows what the flesh likes.

Here I go and fail another piss test, and meanwhile, I’ve caught another charge, and so this time, I go on the run. And you’ll just have to keep reading to find out how the police caught up with me and I started my life in the TDCJ.

The Attorneys
  • Francisco Hernandez
  • Daniel Hernandez
  • Phillip Hall
  • Rocio Martinez