From Death Row to New Life
Updated: Sep 23
September 2020 • Newsletter
Chris grew up in a loving home, raised by his grandmother. He was a good student, very athletic and he loved sports. Aside from the missing relationship with his mother, who was always in and out of prison, he remembers being content with what he had. That is, until a
sleepover opened his eyes to what he was missing.
“I spent the night at a friend’s house and I couldn’t believe what I saw. His family had a
swimming pool and a basketball court, their pantry was like a room and it was full of food!
That’s when they told me, ‘Yeah, you’re kinda poor, bro.’”
It was a revelation. A spark of envy flickered to life in his heart. Left unchecked, that small flame set fire to Chris’ world.
As Chris got older, the gap between
what he and his friends had only
“When I was 16, crack-cocaine started
hitting our neighborhood. I was still in
school, but my friends were all selling
drugs. They were driving cars they
bought with cash! They were telling
me, you got to come with us and get
some of this money.”
Frustrated, but not wanting to get
mixed up with drugs, Chris stole
a car to keep up. He got arrested
and was sentenced to two years in
“When I got out, I had a chip on my shoulder. I was mad at the world.”
Chris stopped trying to walk the straight and narrow. He let the envy in his heart take the wheel.
“I figured, ‘I’m just going to do me.’ I started selling drugs and carrying guns. I was in and out of jail. All this time God was trying to open my eyes, but I wasn’t paying attention.”
Then Chris came to the end of the road. He was involved in an armed robbery that ended with three people killed.
“For that, I was sentenced to death row. My mom was there crying in the courtroom. I thought, ‘My life is over.’”
Thankfully for Chris, our God is a God of redemption. It was in prison where He finally got Chris’ attention.
“I had a dream where God told me, ‘You be about my business and I’ll be about your
business.’ So that’s what I did. I stayed in my cell and started reading the Word. Every chance I got when they had bible study, I went. I just immersed myself in the Word of God.”
As months went by on death row and Chris grew closer and closer to the Maker he was about to meet, something miraculous happened. New evidence surfaced in Chris’ trial. A juror had been coerced into declaring a guilty verdict. Chris went back to trial for armed robbery. This time, he was found not guilty.
Now removed from death row, he went about serving his time for other crimes. That’s when he found Along Side Ministries to help him succeed in his walk.
“I’ve been behind bars for 27 years. I need a routine to succeed and they’re helping me build that. I need to stay connected with the body of Christ and Along Side is a big part of that.”
The Chris who came out of prison is
a totally different person from the
one who went in. Thanks to the
like you, this new creation is finding
success on the outside.
“Ken and Sandie are worth their
weight in gold! I was facing a bunch
of fines before the DMV in Tucson
would let me reinstate my driver’s
license, but Sandie was able to file
some paperwork with the courts and
got the fines dismissed! They helped
me get a job delivering cabinets. Every
morning before we go out on a job,
we pray. And that’s really a blessing.”
Today, Chris’ dream is to become a motivational speaker – to give back – by visiting young men and women in prison and deterring them from the path of crime.
Chris knows he was rescued from death row for a reason.
“What this generation is facing is way worse than what you face or I faced. The devil knows his time is short and he’s releasing everything he can on the world. If you’re not grounded in Christ, you’re going to get eaten alive. So many kids these days don’t know who Jesus is. They’ve never been told. There’s a lot of work to be done in this generation.”
P.S. As you think about giving, please note: Your gift can earn you a dollar-for-dollar credit against your state taxes, due to the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit. Claim up to $400 of your gifts to Along Side if you file singly, or $800 if you file jointly. Thank you again!