62-year old Willie Simmons from Alabama, has been in prison for the past 28 years for stealing $9. You read right, $9!. Smh. He had 3 prior convictions, and was convicted of 1st-degree robbery and was sentenced to life without parole in 1983 due to Alabama’s Habitual Offender law.
A reporter from WBRC by the name of Beth Shelburne, shared Simmon’s ideals on Twitter after a conversation with him.
According to Shelburne, Simmons is an Army veteran who became addicted to drugs while overseas. He was 25-years old when the state “said he should die in prison.” He hasn’t even had a visitor since 2005, the same time his sister passed away.
He has been in incarcerated in Holman Correctional Facility in Escambia County, Alabama which is none as the “most violent prisons in the country.” Now at the age of 62, he is studying for his GED, trying to “stay away from the wild bunch.”
Simmons doesn’t deny the crime he committed that landed him in prison for life. He admitted to he was “high on drugs” when he wrestled a man to the ground and stole his wallet that contained $9, as he said he was “trying to get a quick fix.”
Simmons said his trial only lasted about 25 minutes. He said his appointed attorney didn’t call on any witness and the prosecutors didn’t offer a plea deal although his prior offenses were non-violent. “They kept saying we’ll do our best to keep you off the streets for good,” he said.
He has filed for several appeals even without an attorney over the years, yet they were all denied. He said, “In a place like this, it can feel like you’re standing all alone. I ain’t got nobody on the outside to call and talk to. Sometimes I feel like I’m lost in outer space.”
Simmons is hoping his cruel sentence could be reconsidered. “Yes, I’ve been hoping and praying on it,” he said. “I ain’t giving up.”
Simmons still dreams someday he will be free and live a normal life. “My hope is to get out of here, settle down with a woman and do God’s will,” he said. “I’d like to tell people about how bad drugs are.”