This story was told by a person incarcerated at San Joaquin County Jail.
Caller: Can you hear me?
UCI: Yes, I can hear you. Can you hear me?
Caller: Yes. On my end, every time it disconnects, it’s saying that it’s disconnecting us purposely, because it’s saying, I don’t know if you’re pressing something on your end, but it’s saying, “No third-party calls are allowed,” and hangs up and disconnects us. So, I’m not sure —
UCI: Yeah. Unfortunately, I believe that there is a third party listening to our conversation and is trying to maybe interfere. I don’t know.
Caller: That’s what happens, yeah, because as soon as it clicks on or whatever. It just hangs up and disconnects, which is weird because my ex-girlfriend, when I was in here, every time I’d call her, I’d have her call somebody for me, and I’d do a third-party call. So, I don’t know why it’s doing that.
UCI: Yeah. I think there might be somebody else listening to the conversation, if you know what I’m saying.
Caller: So, I have another 16-page story. This one’s simply titled “My Story” because that’s what it is. It’ll probably take about 12 to 15 minutes to get through it. Hopefully, we do.
UCI: Yeah. Hey, I think we talked to each other the other night, huh?
Caller: Yes. Yeah, about two days ago.
UCI: Yeah. Yeah. It’s nice to hear your voice again, sir. Yeah, absolutely.
I already read the consent statement, and I can hear you just fine when you’re talking. So, if you want, you can get started, and I’ll just mute myself. You’re good?
Caller: Okay. I’ll give this a whirl. If not, I’ll keep trying. This one’s titled “My Story.”
It’s kind of just my entire life leading up to the moment I ended up in jail last June of 2020. And it’s all COVID-related because I wouldn’t have been in jail if it wasn’t for COVID. So, as the story goes on, it explains what I’m talking about. It explains a lot.
So, it starts off with me sitting in solitary sonfinement for, like, 30 days straight for pretty much no reason at all besides COVID. And it’s my first time in jail, really, like officially. And it’s not anything I was used to. So, I was kind of in a bad place, and I started writing this story. So, here it goes.
As I sit here in nothing but pain from head to toe, I must say it’s really overwhelming. It is indeed without a moment’s rest as the pain is limitless. I’m realizing that I am now, in this moment, experiencing the worst tragedy I’ve ever known, yet somehow I am overwhelmed with the most loving embrace, I’m – excuse me, yet somehow I am overwhelmed with the most loving embrace one could ever know. Please, allow me to explain.
You see, having been born into a world of shattered, broken lives with a father having been killed by the trials and tribulations of his own life long before I could ever comprehend, leaving me with a mother. Also abandoned in her youth, she became timid and slightly withdrawn from the world without having a promising future due to lack of family support and not much of a skillset herself.
Yet I seemed to thrive, not quite noticing the lonesomeness that engulfed my youth. Being that I remained an only child having been raised by this timid, single-parent mother alone in a two-bedroom apartment with literally nothing happening in my life. But as the years rolled on, my life became less of a tragedy and more of a tale of heroics, magnificence, and brilliance.
First, I was fortunate in my mom having come across this degenerate of a man due to me having forgotten my jacket at grade school one day, requiring us to double back to find it. What we found instead was this drunken man playing basketball with his drunken friends. That man followed us home like a lost dog and soon became what I was to know throughout my childhood as my step-dad. And although he never would amount to much in his own life, his role in mine would wind up being crucial.
With me now having this man in my life, he provided some necessary guidance and discipline as he helped forge me into a wonderful specimen of a young man with vigorous training in the arts of Kuxuan, one of the world’s earliest forms of mixed martial arts. It soon became ingrained into my soul as I nearly made it to black belt.
And before leaving my life, he would also introduce me to roofing installations, where I excelled beyond anyone’s wildest imagination, thus forming the entire dynamic of my future and who I am today.
But before the roofing was to begin, I would first meet a vibrant young friend who would welcome me into his family as a brother. His father was especially influential for me, as he took the time to teach me and his two sons about the generations before ours. He helped us to understand at such a young age the virtue of all that had transpired in his lifetime, before we were even born.
With that, we fell in love with everything about what it was to be a hippie. I was able to combine the spiritualism of martial arts with the feeling of oneness and free-spirited peace and love aspect of being a hippie. And I indulged it for years.
Eventually, they moved to Tennessee at the beginning of my senior year of high school. And with me being told it was no longer required that I return to school due to the fact that I had acquired enough credits to have graduated 14 grades and they would mail me a diploma, I was only 17 years old and there were still two months left in high school.
With them releasing me, I packed up my car with everything I owned and set out on an adventure, traveling across the United States, finding my way over to Tennessee, where my friends had settled for over a year out there enjoying the South.
But eventually I would return to California, realizing just how special it was to have been born here. It was upon my arrival back to California that I took up the trade work of roofing installations for a steady source of income. It was soon after that, I met a young girl.
She was in troubled times with her mom having recently become addicted to drugs and lost her mind. She and I had just met, but with her mom forcing her out of the house, I allowed her to come stay with me. She was only 16 years old, and I was 19.
With me loving roofing installations as much as I do, I was working seven days a week, 12 hours a day. So, I really didn’t have time to care much about searching for actual love, as I was way too busy. This poor girl seemed to really like me and was certainly depending on me. So, I grinded on and pushed forward with my focus on my career and earning a good living. As the years rolled on, the hardship of the work I was performing eventually forged me into something magnificent.
Most of what was the hippie in me shriveled up and fell off as I became a new kind of man. I was strong, skilled, and able, thus creating the man I am today, very impressive to most people I come across.
It was in these early years of my roofing career that my family was formed. My four wonderful, perfect, little angels were born, and I had now spent what feels like the better part of a lifetime being the best dad I can be and also loving it more than words can tell. I have now lived enough joy in this lifetime to last an eternity. My cup has been full for a long time now even despite of enduring the worst kind of relationship with a woman a man should ever know.
Throughout the entire relationship, this wife of mine rained terror upon me relentlessly although I managed to keep my head up and hold strong, determined to see my children grow up in a home together with both mom and dad, as I always felt that it should be. After 20 years, no matter how hard I tried, in the end, I failed.
Due to that, my life has now been transformed over the past two years. I now find myself sitting here, jailed for the third time attached to all this, in the middle now of what will be 30 days in solitary confinement mostly due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and with me never having committed a crime. But it was all due to the fact that my wife had become a raging alcoholic and had recently picked up an addiction to the use of cocaine while I was at work all day, every day.
I spent over two years trying to help her get sober, but on one final day, I had come home from work to find a large bag of cocaine sitting open on the kitchen floor with my four children running around. I attempted to set it on the counter and have a conversation about it, but it was something about her belligerent denial of having anything to do with it, and she was already heavily intoxicated, that caused me to grow angry.
My thoughts were that if this cocaine was so important to her that it was more important than her love for her children, more than her love for me or this wonderful life I was working so hard to provide for her, and even more important to her than her own self, then maybe she should just eat it as I attempted to shove it in her mouth.
An argument immediately ensued as we fought most of the night. It eventually led to her attempting a halfhearted suicide attempt by taking the rest of these sleeping pills we had. But the bottle was nearly empty, so nothing happened.
I had had enough as I spent the rest of the evening calling and texting all her friends and our family, explaining to them that I could no longer do this on my own and I truly needed their help and support.
Well, that help came only in the form of my mother and her mother pulling up to my house the next morning as I was driving off to work. The two mothers then witnessed my wife loading the kids into the car to take them to school still intoxicated from the night before. They all argued for a moment as my wife cursed at them and drove off anyways.
So, the moms drove straight to the police station, begging them to come and do a welfare check on the situation, with my mom in particular taking her opportunity to complain about the fact that I had spent several years of amassing a small arsenal of weapons, only the best of weapons, not always in compliance with California state law.
I had purchased these weapons, 23 in all, as my duty to be able to protect my family by arming all my friends and neighbors, if necessary, and be able to defend ourselves against anything that may come our way. It was nobody’s business but my own, really. I had never even fired a weapon, and kept them locked up in a safe.
But with my mom’s “come and do what they tell you, guns are bad” attitude, she complained to the police of the drug use and alcoholism of my wife combined with the fighting it would lead to along with the presence of my firearms in the home and aroused the police’s interest. What happened next has changed my life forever.
As I am 40 years old at the time of all this happening, I have no previous criminal history or any arrests on my record. It was the middle of the day that day at my job site where I had been installing roof, that I had received a call from one of my friends, stating that the police were raiding my house and clearing it of all weapons and ammo and mags and drums I had acquired.
It was about $50,000 worth of gear, in total – all because, when they went to my house, they interviewed my children, who confirmed that mommy and daddy were indeed arguing the night before. And they wanted my weapons so bad from the information my mom had given them, they automatically classified it as a domestic violence situation to take my weapons and then put a warrant out for my arrest.
I immediately returned home and went to my mother’s house, where she was now holding my kids. I cried with them for a moment as I had to explain to them that things were going to be a little different for a while as I did not know for how long. When I walked out the front door to leave and go stay at a hotel perhaps, I was met by eight officers spread out throughout the neighborhood with guns drawn, waiting to arrest me. It turns out, as a good citizen, my mother had informed them that I was on my way over to see my kids.
All I had ever done with my time here was work and raise my family. I was the embodiment of the official Disney dad to where I was either working or taking everybody on our next vacation. Whether it was to Disneyland again or Hawaii at our favorite resort called Aulani, built by Disney, or the Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe for the winters, I truly loved seeing my family happy. But now here I was, facing over 80 felonies with each extended mag or ammo drum or modified weapon carrying its own charge.
I was famous amongst the police force for a good while, which allowed me to defeat the SWAT Team once as they came to issue an arrest warrant on me for violating a restraining order put on me by the State of California from returning to my own home following the arrest for domestic violence. But, of course, my wife didn’t agree with that and would let me come home and be with my family while we tried to decide what to do about the situation.
And this was all following the situation where I ended up hiring a very good attorney. That got the courts to sentence me to three years probation and 30 days of AWP work program in place of an actual jail sentence, convincing them to be more satisfied with the value of the arsenal they had stolen from me. So, I was released and given a deadline of when I needed to sign up for the AWP program.
So, all this led to a certain evening back in my home, where my wife, being drunk and high once again and having just completely failed her children at being a mother. To where I would still have to do most all of the cleaning around the house, to where I would come home from work after a 12-hour shift of hard labor at nine o’clock at night to have my kids asking me to cook them dinner because they were starving and their mother just spends all day in the bathroom with the door closed. So, I would feed the kids and then argue with my wife and saying that how, when we soon separate, I would be taking the kids and setting her free from responsibility.
This did not sit well with her, as she then picked up the phone to report my violation of the restraining order. So, I ran out of the house, and I left, wearing only a pair of pants, no shoes or anything. I drove off and waited for several hours. But as it got late and cold with me having to work the next day, I returned home to go to bed.
That’s when I saw the flickers of flashlights outside my living room window and realized the police were there. I went out a window to hide on my second-story rooftop but accidentally locked myself out by shutting the window. That’s when the helicopter came and the SWAT team began commandeering my neighbors’ houses and pointing their lasers on their rifles at me from the second-story windows of the houses around me.
I had no choice but to jump off the second-story roof and land in a kiddie pool with three feet of water in it. I ran inside to dry off and change my clothes, grabbing a water bottle and two Ho Hos, and off I went.
It was like a crazy maze as I began hopping fences where around every corner I could see the silhouette of an officer standing there with guns drawn. Luckily, the SWAT team had a healthy fear of me due to the previous arrest with all the weapons being big enough to blow holes through their vests, that they held an open perimeter too wide and were afraid to engage. So, I escaped.
I made it to the edge of my housing development to an 11-foot-tall wall enclosing it from the farmlands beyond, and I quickly jumped over. Just as my feet hit the ground, I was blinded by a shaky flashlight held by a rookie cop that was told to go wait way over in the farmlands half a mile away from all the action because the SWAT Team had this under control. The exact words out of the cop’s mouth was, “Holy shit. You’re like a fucking ninja.”
They calmed down when they realized I had nothing more than a water and a pocketful of Ho Hos with me and I was not a threat to them. And back at the station, the SWAT Team and I seemed to have a good camaraderie, practically doing chest bumps, talking about good game and whatnot. They were very impressed with my leap from the second-story roof and my complete disregard for their lasers on me, as I fear nothing in this world.
In the middle of all this happening in my life is when COVID hit, canceling out programs like my AWP work program that I was supposed to be sentenced to originally. So, on a warm summer night on my way home from work, I was pulled over for speeding. I was then informed of a no-bail warrant out for my arrest due to not having completed my AWP program yet. Where in a normal situation it would require me to be taken to jail overnight, and I would then see the judge the following morning to reset the ramifications for completing my program.
Now, keep in mind that AWP program had been canceled due to the COVID. And being that I was over in Alameda County, I was taken over to Santa Rita Jail to await transport to San Joaquin County. Unfortunately, it was on a Friday, which meant I had to wait until Monday, which ended up being Tuesday, to transport over to the other jail. Upon my arrival, I was informed that Santa Rita was highly infected with COVID, and they treated me like I was radioactive.
They immediately threw me in an isolation cell equivalent to being in the hole for the next 16 days before they let me see the judge even though I had no COVID. It ended up being 384 hours that I spent in there in the hole, where I was only let out of my cell for a total of eight hours of that time, being that they only let me out for one hour every other day. And then the judge sentenced me to nine more days back in the hole to just finish out a 30-day sentence and be done with it all.
It was within all this chaos that two things happened. One was the inevitable, which was me having to separate from my wife, where I then took my four kids and moved into this lovely, five-bedroom, brand new house to start a new life as my wife disappeared with her drug addiction. But then, the second thing was that I had met what I thought at the time was the most wonderful person ever.
I had spent my entire adult life believing that no love could ever compare to the love that you feel towards your own children. That all changed when I met this woman. She had filled my life with a joy that I had never expected to be possible.
You see, up until that point, I had resigned myself to caring only for my children’s happiness and not for my own as if it was their time now and I no longer mattered. But meeting this woman brought back to life a feeling inside of me that I had let die long ago. I felt like she was teaching me how to be happy again, how to truly enjoy the times that we’d go out for adventures for myself rather than just for that of the kids.
Life for a moment seemed so much more brighter and colorful. It felt like this was promising to be the best chapter in my life.
But when I met this woman, I was told about her troubled past with drugs and whatnot, but she had been sober for almost two years now. And we’d been together for a year at this point, giving her three years sober, when COVID took our world by storm. I, along with everybody else, stocked up on many items just to be on the safe side. I filled my pantry with food, bought toilet paper.
But then I also restocked myself with guns and ammunition in case I needed to protect my family.
Without having enough of an understanding for drug addiction as I had lived my life as an athlete, installing roofs all day, and taking up being a cage fighter as a hobby, I thought nothing of it when a friend of mine gave me a bag of methamphetamine to store away. Just in case the shit really hit the fan, I could fight without sleeping. After I had informed my girlfriend that I had acquired this drug, it triggered her.
And she did not return home for several days because she went and got some of her own for herself and stayed at my cousin’s house, as they were good friends.
When she returned home, I found myself willing to participate in this meth binge of hers as I felt guilty and did want to enjoy my time with her. Now, when I was finally arrested on the side of the road for speeding, I realized when I got to jail that I hadn’t slept more than two to three hours a night for the past three months and perhaps I had been trying to enjoy myself a little too much. And that’s where this story comes full circle.
You see, what I haven’t mentioned at all yet is, all along, every step of the way in my life, even in the absence of my father and then the absence of my family as a result, etc., I’ve never been alone or on my own. There has always been this very strong presence in my life opening the right doors for me and guiding me along a very fruitful path. It was almost as if the hand of what we call God had always been right there on my shoulder.
As most of my adult life, I’ve been able to earn anywhere from $200,000 to $350,000 a year, providing a wonderful life for my family. It feels like this special connection with God won’t allow me to fail. It’s my divinity, and it’s this divinity in my life that has always kept me being a strong and capable man.
So, as I sit here in solitary Confinement for a month straight as I write this story, I realize that the hardship I have endured was and is so very necessary for my salvation. I try to imagine the tragedy that would become my life if I traveled much farther down the road I was on. And I’m overwhelmed with the feeling of this loving embrace that surrounds and engulfs me as it seems I truly will not be allowed to fail on this mission we call life.
In here, I’m well-fed, well-rested, and I work out all day. I can already see a transformation happening. I can expect to leave here a new man again. For that, I yell out to God often, saying, “I love you.” If you don’t or haven’t, you should.
In conclusion to reading my story, please do remember that, in life, the harder the world seems to press upon you, the stronger and more beautiful and more worthy of this life you become. I believe that it’s within these moments of despair that we are at our closest to God. It’s a lot like the way in which a diamond is formed. It starts as a lump of coal very deep beneath the weight of the world.
As the pressures begin to build and increase, all the imperfections and parts that never should have mattered so much in the first place begin to break away and fall off, eventually revealing the beautiful diamond within. Perhaps it’s truly our journey and objective here to leave this place as a beautiful diamond. I hope and I wish that you can all be as fortunate as I have been in this journey of life.
My love is with you now. And for those who never knew me so well, now you do.
And that’s the end of that story, called “My Story”, and which kind of seamlessly leads right up to the previous story I had left with you which tells a whole ‘nother chapter of how things went with that new girlfriend of mine, [chuckles] where she attempted to murder me three times.
UCI: That’s right. I remember that.
Caller: So, that pretty much, yeah so, led me to being here now, fighting a two-year sentence. So, yeah, the two stories combined just equal to here now, I guess. But, yep, that’s what it is. I do have a few more stories that I can get to you later.
Although I gave the one hard copy of that [unintelligible] now. So, I’d have to try to regurgitate that out of my brain and the but I do have all of COVID pretty much and being in jail, of course.
They’ve all been written from jail. So, it is what it is. And I thank you guys tremendously for creating this aspect of being able to get these stories out there. It does mean a lot to me. It really does.
And I just want to thank you guys. And the last time we spoke, I was referencing a [redacted] that got a letter out to me, but that was actually a letter given to somebody else. And the way I have things situated here in the jail, the first thing they did when they read the letter was they came running up to me with it saying, “Oh, this has got to be for you. You need to send them stories.” And so, I did.
But yesterday I actually received in the mail one actually written to me, where my name was picked out of the project. So, I just wanted to say thanks. And it all just means a lot to me.
So, I guess that’s that. This phone’s going to cut off in two minutes anyway. So, it’s been a pleasure. And I guess I’ll talk to you in the next day or two with another story.
UCI: All right, sir. Thank you so much.