By Kris Russell

Last time, I started telling my story in hopes that I could keep others from following in my footsteps. I’d like to pick up where I left off last time, because it was kind of a cliff-hanger. If you remember, I’d left my beautiful family behind and started seeing this girl named Jenny. Trying to get away from the law in Texas, we went to Elk City, Oklahoma to live with her sister. For the record, ! I want to say that Jenny’s family were great, goodhearted, loving people. We ended up living there for close to a year, until the cops got wind of me staying there. I still don’t know how they figured out I was there, but I don’t really care, either.

I told Jenny we needed to head back to Texas, because I didn t want to get caught in another state. So we left, and we were hiding out at my uncle’s house. We were only there for two days, and the cops came knocking and found me there. I don’t know how they found out I was there, but ! I don’t care, either.... Well, maybe I’m a little bit curious. There weren’t but a couple of people who even knew where I was in the first place, so it’s not too hard to figure out. I think maybe it was Jenny’s parents. They knew where we were because they’d drove us back to stay there. If it was them, I don’t blame them. They wanted better for their daughter, and my path was destined to end up in prison. 

So, now I’m back in county jail, and guess who comes to visit me? Give up? Misty and my kids! No matter how many times I have let this woman down (which was never my intention), God will not allow her heart to harden towards me. At the same time, Jenny fell off* about three months after I was incarcerated. To this day, Misty STILL remains.

I do eight months as a trustee, and then sign for 10 years TDCJ, and two years state jail time with three years of back time. The two years was to run concurrent with the 10. I got that for getting busted with dope. I forgot to tell you about that, too, but it was right before I ran to Oklahoma.

When I hit county, I weighed about 180 founds, although a normal body weight for a guy my size is in the 200 + range. 1 left county weighing 260 pounds. After all, I was a trustee and could eat all the food I wanted. 

I chained out for the TDCJ on October 1, 2012, around 8:00 in the morning. I’ll be honest with you. I was scared to death. Scared of the unknown, scared because of all I’d seen on the TV and in the movies about prison! I figured everything would be like that, and I guess in some places, it probably still is.

*Fell off is prison slang for someone who has stoppped communicating with you once you were jailed.

I end up at the Lindsey State Jail, which I thought was kind of weird, because I figured I would go to the TDCJ! and that time would “eat up” my state jail time instead ! of the other way around. When I first get there, it’s not! so bad. I’m in a dorm with 40 inmates in it. At first, I tried to stay to myself and figure out who to talk to and who to avoid. For the most part, though, everyone was pretty cool. All the woods* wanted me to join up with them. For one, I was big, and I could fight. They came and said they wanted to “heart-check” me. Well, I got heart, and I’ve never been scared to fight. After all, I grew up doing that all the time. So I said okay, and I guess since I was bigger than most of them, they decided to run three on one against me. I’m not lying when I say this; I beat all three of them! I couldn’t believe it myself until it was all over. I hit the first guy so hard, it knocked him out cold. He was literally snoring. The other two were beating the crap out of me. It’s hard to fight two people! Finally, I got a lucky punch in on one of them and broke his nose. He was done! with blood all over the place. Once I was able to fight just one guy, it was an easy win. They gave me the nickname “Bull dog”, because they said I was just as crazy and mean, and wouldn’t quit for nothing. It was funny, because I had wrestled steers in high school, which is called “Bulldoggin’”, and a lot of people already called me that anyway. After it was all said and done, they decided I had enough
heart to join their gang, but I told them I didn’t think I wanted to be a part of something where they wanted to beat you up just to be a part of them.
That’s not the kind of friends I wanted. Since I’d already proved I would and could fight, they left me alone. They respected the fact I was going to “ride solo”. That was my first week there.

*Woods are white gang members.

My second week there, I had to go before the Unit Classification Committee. They went through my file and told ! me the exact date I was discharging. Plus, they said I had no detainers. I was thinking, “That’s weird, because I know I have TDCJ time, too.” So I said something about it, and they start making some calls. Sure enough, they find it, and they say, “We got to get you out of here! Your state jail time will run concurrent with TDCJ time, but TDCJ time doesn’t run concurrent with state jail time.” I actually had to tell these people they couldn’t let me go! 

Two days later, I was on chain to TDCJ. On October 15, 2012, I end up at the Middleton Unit in Abilene, Texas. Getting there, we drive right through Breckenridge, and! as I’m looking out the window, guess who I see? Yep. Misty is taking our kids to school. I waved and waved, knowing they can’t see me. But I still cherish that moment, because that’s the last time I saw my kids or Misty. 

I got to the Middleton Unit, and go in and have to strip all the way down to the skin. I’m standing there with my junk hanging out, and everyone’s staring at me. I felt like ! a dog, ‘cause I’m not in the business of just letting them stare at me like that. I had to “spread my cheeks”, and “lift my sack”, and the whole nine yards. Then, they let me get dressed and go wait in a cage until my name was called. They went through all my stuff, throwing out whatever they didn’t want me to have like it didn’t mean anything in the world. After that, I had to shave all my facial hair off, then get in a shower with no privacy stalls, walls or curtains. Then they threw this white powder all over me like I was some kind of flea-bitten cur. Then it was sit around and wait some more, until I got housed. It was an eight hour process. When I finally got to my bunk, I was so tired, I just shoved everything I had in my locker and collapsed on the bunk to go to sleep.

As I went through the process of getting situated and learning the ropes, I started getting more comfortable and realized that prison could be a lot worse. It’s like a daycare for adults. Yeah, the guards treat you like crap, yelling at you and trying to belittle you. Since they use their authority to try and intimidate and abuse you, it was only a matter of time before I got in trouble, because I can’t stand bullies. Fortunately, I didn’t
stay there long!

During my brief stay there, I went out to rec. One day, I was playing volleyball on their asphalt court. (I know it’s a sissy sport! Nah, I’m just playing. Besides there’s lots of hot chics who play volleyball!) They give us these Van-like deck shoes we call Jackie Chans. I went up to spike the ball,  and scored a great point. However, on the way down, I landed on someone’s foot and rolled my ankle. I ended up breaking my foot in three places. I know right away, because I can’t put any weight on it and it hurts like hell. The guards don’t call for a wheel chair or anything. They made me hop on one foot all the way to medical, my foot killing me the whole way. Some
nurse tries to tell me it’s not broken, just sprained, and tells me to come back the next day to see a doctor. They did give me some crutches at least.

The next day, the doc orders X-rays, which take a week to get done. The whole time, all I had for the incredible pain I was in was Tylenol 325mg, generic. It doesn’t do crap. When I finally got X-rayed, guess what? It really IS broke! He tells me they’ll probably need to put pins in it to fix it and schedule me to see a specialist in “three or four days”. 

The night I was to see this specialist, I catch chain to my transfer facility, an intermediate unit where every inmate does two years before assignment to an I.D. unit.! I’m on the bus to the Dick Ware Unit in Colorado City. Somewhere along they way, they lose all my medical records, so when I get there, I have to go through the WHOLE process again, all the way back to before my X-rays. A couple of weeks later, I’m finally in front of a specialist, and he tells me, “Yes, it DID need pins, but it’s already started healing.” Then he asks me why it took so long for me to come see him. What a card. I told him the whole story, and he says he doesn’t want to re-break it, so he just puts me in a boot where I stayed for the next six months with my crutches. What a way to start your prison sentence! 

Ware was about like Lindsey State Jail with a bunch of youngsters and gang bangers who always wanted to fight. Here I am trying to stay away from all that, and being on crutches helped. God always has a plan for you.

There, I was playing church. I’d go and sing the songs, listen to the preaching, then as soon as I was back in the dorm, I’d gamble, smoke, drink, tattoo, and sometimes fight- not always in that order. I was paying the price.

You see, the reason I was in prison was because I got my probation revoked by the drug charge. Still, I need to tell you why I was on probation in the first place.

When I was twenty years old, one year out of high school.! (I graduated at 19), I was still in child mentality. Society made me a man, but in my mind, I was still a kid. None of this excuses what I did, though. I’m just explaining how I felt. I met this girl who was 13, and we were hanging around. I knew she wasn’t my age, but I didn’t think she was that young at the time. Anyway, I tried to get her to have sex with me. I want everyone to know, I’m the one to blame completely for what happened. It was my fault. Not hers. I was the one who was supposed to be the adult and know right from wrong. Anyway, I pray this girl will someday forgive me for what I did. I know God has forgiven me, and I leave it in His hands to heal her, too. Of course, coming to prison with a sex charge isn’t good. People always try to look down on you and want to fight.

I did end up in lanscape and design vocation class. It was pretty cool. I planted my own little flower garden complete with an A-frame swing and a water fountain I plumbed from the water system. I could sit out there and feel like I wasn’t even in prison for a few minutes. I almost get get finished with the class, and got in to a big fight in the chow hall. It was bad, and the other guy ended up with stitches from the hospital. As a result, I ended up in seg, and they made me a G-4 and sent me to the Stevenson Unit,! a million miles from my home.

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