United We Stand is a movement to advocate for those who have been unjustly treated by the law or organizations. We will stand in God’s Truth!
Lawrence Jacob StephensJustice For Jacob
I am currently a prisoner being housed in the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) where I am serving my 14th year of a Three(3) life sentence(s) plus 23 year term that was imposed by the York County Circuit Court in York County, Va. on December 19, 2002.
On the night of November 13, 2001 I committed an armed Robbery where I entered the home of the victims of my crime and I took from them money and drugs. At the time when I committed my crime I was only 18 years old and I had had no prior juvenile or adult criminal record or convictions which made me a first time offender. I was represented by court appointed attorney whom I feel did not represent me effectively and used the fact that I was a first time offender and I had had no knowledge of the law to railroad me into taking a blind plea agreement. There was a pre sentencing report done and my sentencing guidelines was Thirteen (13) years (High, Low, and Mid range) However, I was sentenced way outside of my guidelines. During the time my case was being heard by the York County Circuit Court, I wrote a letter to the Courts requesting that I be represented by other legal counsel due to the fact that I felt as if my attorney wasn’t being completely honest with me about some of the information and facts in my case. The Commonwealth Attorney in my case at the time had advised the Judge that my request to have other legal counsel represent me was nothing more than a lie and a stall tactic to delay my trial date which was a lie on her part and my attorney was never relieved of his duty to represent me although he had informed the courts that he was extremely uncomfortable with representing me due to the Attorney/Client conflict of interest in my case. A few days before I was scheduled to go to trial I was advised by my attorney that if I chose to take my case to trial I would be found guilty and possibly given the maximum sentence for my charges due to the fact that I had committed my crime in York County which is a predominately white community of people who would not have my best interest in mind when it came to them(the jurors) hearing my case and sentencing me. Shortly after that conversation with my attorney I was told that if I pled guilty and signed a plea agreement I would receive the thirteen (13) years that was recommended in my presentencing guidelines and that the judge would comply with the plea agreement and sentence me within my presentencing guidelines due to the fact that I was young and I was a first time offender. While being both scared and confused about the time I was facing I signed the plea agreement thinking that I would get the thirteen(13) years that my attorney said I would recieve but unfortunately the Judge gave me the maximum sentence for all charges. The same amount of time that my lawyer told me that I would receive if I would have taken a jury trial.
I did have other codefendant’s in my case whom most of them were Caucasian, but none of them received no where near the amount of time that my one other African American codefendant and I received for our individual roles in the crime. Not only is my case a criminal case that displays ineffective assistance of counsel, railroading, and cruel and unusual punishment when taking into account my sentence, but it is also a civil matter where discrimination and racial profiling played a huge part in the outcome of my case.
I am now seeking to receive some form of sentencing reduction for my current sentence of three(3) life terms plus 23 years and I am in need of legal assistance and support from those of you on the outside whom I think can possibly help me receive a second chance in society.
Coming to prison as a child was and still is one of the most difficult things that I’ve ever experienced in my life. What I find sad is that nothing I had ever done in my life up until the time of my incarceration had prepared me for this part of my life. Yes the time is hard but having to be away from my family and all of the people who I love and care about the most is the worst part of my sentence. Everyday I sit here in a cell wishing that I could just somehow get back all of the time and the people that I’ve lost while being here the past almost 15 years but I realize that there is no going back. All I can do at this point is stay focused on the things that I am sure to gain in the future.
There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think about what I did that night and the people I hurt in the process. If I could take it back I would and I’m not just saying that because it would mean that I would be a free man again but because it was wrong and more importantly I would be out there to give my own two children something that I never had before and that’s a father.
Please understand that my reason for writing this letter is not to justify or make excuses for my actions in the crime that I committed. I just don’t think that I was given a fair sentence and I shouldn’t have to spend the rest of my life in prison for something that I did when I was basically a child.
There are many “JACOBS” in the world who are in similar situations as mines and I can only hope that me telling my story today will serve as a positive influence for others to accept the past, embrace the future, and strive to find Justice for the injustices that are being committed by the Justice system everyday.
May God Bless you all and I thank you for reading my letter and for your willingness to support and take part in my journey and pursuit to be a free man again someday.
Lawrence Jacob Stephens
Michael’s StorySentenced 90 years no priors.
Name – Michael Hodge
Born – 6/2/1998
Mother – Kimberly Allen
Father – Michael Roy Hodge
Grew Up – Mt. Hope, WV
Graduated from – Fayetteville High School
My grandfather and brothers were father figures in my life. My mother was a great mentor. I lost my grandmother due to cancer and that was the worst thing that happened in my life.
My mother raised 4 kids by herself. I love her to death. I couldn’t ask for anyone better.
Now straight to the basics. I’ve been given a triple life sentence for something I truly didn’t do. I’ve never been in any type of trouble in my life. Im only 20 years of age. I plan on going to college. Plan on having my own business. I am NOT who the system says I am. I am NOT a monster people known as a guy you can easily get along with. I don’t want to be gone for the rest of my life. I want to have kids and a beautiful family.
I am NOT the person that the judge said I am – far from it. I just pray that all of you don’t give up on me and my brother. We are really good people and we can prove that.
Bryan AllenBorn Bryan Keith Allen 1/24/1989
Mother – Kimberly Allen
Father – Clint Lawson, Sr.
Grew up and lived in Mt. Hope WV
Graduated from Mt. Hope High School
Completed 3 years of college 1 year left for diploma in Business Administration
Straight A’s until 10th grade and made my first B I cried
Played sports from the age f 5
Played football basketball and soccer
Favorite sport was football Favorite number 24
Won scholarship for best athlete in my school and state
Earned a scholarship to play football at WVU Tech. Played for 2 years til I hurt my back and had to quit
Transferred to concord for a year. My siblings got kicked out after the 1st semester so I finished the year and didn’t go back
Extra Curricular activities included: National Honor Society, National Helpers, Upward Bound Program, Who’s Who, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Students against Drunk Drivers.
Biggest Role Model – Leslie Allen my grandfather and person I hope to be like.
Biggest Influence in my life – Fran Allen my grandmother
I lost my grandmother on 2/2/2017 to cancer. I took care of her everyday for 4 months until she went to be with the Lord. Life for me went out of control from there. She was my second mother and I cherished her dearly.
I lost all sense of direction and purpose in my life.
I hated the world and everyone in it because I saw how she was treated by so called friends and our family. While she was steadily dying it put me in a dark place in my life to the point where I turned to drugs and alcohol for comfort every single day – all day. It turned me into a monster.
This is not an excuse but an explanation of when and where my life took a dramatic turn for the worse. I am terribly sorry for the people I hurt that day during the high speed chase but that wasn’t me at all. If I could take it back I would. That’ not the guy people know me as and I for sure don’t want it to be the guy that Im remembered as. It was a bad couple of months. I haven’t been in trouble my whole life. Im thirty years old and being punished for he rest of life for one mistake.
I need you all to fight for me and believe in me because I know God is not done with me yet. My goal and passion in life is to become the man and leader my grandfather told me that I am supposed t be and become a preacher /pastor like my grandfather. Get my diploma in business administration and open my own restaurant.
None of our dad’s were around growing up s I had to grow up quickly and become the man of the house for my family. I had 2 brothers and 1 sister. My mother always held down and job and did her best to support us with the help of no man. I thank God for grandparents we had. They made sure we had what we needed to survive. Our dad’s were always locked up. I didn’t meet my dad til I was 14 and by then in my eyes I was already a man.
Whenever I wasn’t in college I worked at the Mill Creek Saw Mill in Mt Hope getting up at 5 am and had to be there at 6 til 3 pm. Every day I was at work breaking my back for my family. I also worked at UPS for 3 years getting up at 2 am to preload thousands of boxes on the trucks and had to go out and help the drivers deliver them until 8 pm and right back up at 2.
Im a hard worker and I love my family. I’ll do anything for the t make sure we have food in the house and clothes on our backs.
Tony WaltonSentenced 25 years
As you will see, at the beginning of the 911 call the victim’s husband told 911 that his wife Lori, was being robbed. There was never a statement from this Lori nor was there any testimony concerning who Lori was.
Through 911 transcript, 911 asked the victim to describe the robber. The victim said “ all I know he’s very very black. In the police station she said the robber was 6 ft 2 to 6 ft 4 black man
In the criminal complaint it states that the robber was described by the victim as light skinned black male 6 ft 1 and 270 lbs. Some of this info was in the press release.
All of these statements were given on Dec. 24 2006 and the victims credibility was 100% in tact. She went from she didn’t see him to all I know he as very very black to black man 6 ft 1 to 6 ft 4 then to light skinned black man.
Also the victim was NEVER questioned about the inconsistent descriptions she gave.
The victim stated in the transcripts and at trial that she sprayed the robber with a whole can of mace. I allowed the police the morning of the robbery to tae samples from my skin to text for mace and the test came back negative.
Also, I was 23 when I got charged with basically no criminal record and I got sentenced 50 years plus to 10 years.
Well thought it was time to update my status it’s been a long time. Where to being it has been crazy time lately for both Dave and I to say the least . God does work in mysterious ways start off really bad going to jail for first time and stayed there for three and a half months for a anywhere else on earth besides oak Hill you get a ticket. But turning into a most unexpected blessing Dave and I are more in love and appreciateeach other then ever before we’re currently working with two great people Jill McAllister Burcham and Keith Allen the bishops from the push ministries here in Oak Hill getting involved with the United we stand program .My daughter went to her senior prom she’s so beautiful and graduating May 17th so proud of her. And I know this is just the beginning of our new journey as God is the center of are life.
From The Bishop’s CornerBy Bishop Keith Allen
I want to Thank God for his protection, His Grace and Mercy as we Take a Stand for Righteousness and for Justice and what is Right in the sight of God, when I look at how our children is being railroaded and herded into prison with sentences that are in just, we must Stand Up and be heard, because these children are somebodies Sons and Daughters, Fathers and Mother’s, Aunts and Uncles not cattle or animals being herded in for the slaughter, They are people who have messed up and they go into a prison system with no reform, no rehabilitation, they want them to come back because prison is big business, we are crying out for our children, we need to do a Crusade and go into the highways byways and compel them to come in and teach them not only the ways of God but the ways of the world, the Bible tells older men to teach the younger men, Mothers teach your daughters, have we felled as the Church having a form of Godliness and denying the responsibility of being a light in a dark world where the Bible sends us into all the world to teach and preach the gospel to go into the highways byways and compel them to come in, how can we be the light of the world when our light is hid under a bush, or behind the four walls of what we call the Church, Just Sayin, From the Bishops Corner.