I will never forget that day in June when I heard Judge Banales say, “You are hereby sentenced to 60 years in the Texas Department of Corrections”. My legs felt like spaghetti, my hands went cold. I had no moisture in my mouth. I was numb all over. I wanted to throw up. I could hear my mother’s horrific cries in the background. I turned to see her and I saw my father holding her and my grandmother tightly. He was so scared, I could tell. There were other ladies that were also crying. They felt for my mom, and possibly for me. The judge told my dad if he didn’t quiet my mother, he would have her arrested. My mother had a look of fury in her eyes when they met with mine. I knew right there and then that her love and commitment as a mother would induce a fight for justice. The bailiff was so nice to me. He kept asking me if I needed some water. I couldn’t talk. All I could hear was my mother’s cry, over and over. I couldn’t even hug her goodbye.
When I was 17 years old, I made a mistake, a mistake that will haunt me and my family for the rest of our lives. I had consensual sex with a girl whom I believed to be much older. I was young and immature, drinking and smoking pot like many other teens at our school. I never intended to hurt anyone. I am not a dangerous predator or a violent rapist. I am a young man who has been given a punishment far beyond what is reasonable and just.
Two detectives approached me and asked me if I had sex with Michelle. I answered “yes, why?” They handcuffed me and took me to the Corpus Christi Police Department. I had no attorney present, nor my mom or dad. I was scared out of my mind. They told me that if I did not write out a statement, and sign it, that I would go to prison. I had never been in any trouble with the law before. I did what I was told because I was scared, did not want to go to prison, and did not know what else to do. Once the statement was signed, I was told that Michelle was only 12 years old. I wanted to throw up. I didn’t know whether to believe them or not. She looked much older than 12. Amanda told us that she was 16. My little sister was 12 years old at the time and that made me feel awful. I was sent upstairs and booked into jail. I called my mom at work and told her that I had been arrested for aggravated sexual assault and the bond was $20,000.
About 8 hours later, my mom and dad picked me up from the jail and took me home. My mother was crying and very upset, asking me “how could you do this?” I was crying so hard and grabbed my mom and told her to look into my eyes and listen to me. My mom always knew when we were not being truthful by our eyes. I explained to her that I did not know Michelle was 12 and that I was sorry for my behavior.