March 29, 2009
Sunday, 5:00 p.m.
Letter #78: Lorenzo, Ricky, and Bam-Bam
Greetings! As most of you know, my current cellie (of the past 10+ months), Lorenzo Lorta, is fighting his most recent conviction. He’s been expecting to go back to court “at any minute” for the last 10 months. Yes, this is hard on me. him.
Well, now his appeal will be in front of a Judge on April 3. Here’s what he’s appealing, in a nutshell … (Be grateful you get to experience the low-calorie, fat-free, sugarless, condensed version. If you wish to replicate what a cellie of someone who is in the midst of the appeal process might go through, just read the account below several times. Aloud. Every few days.)
Basically, Lorenzo was caught posing as a fire marshall, enabling him to rob nearly two hundred jewelry stores. Just prior to his trial, he walked off of a prison bus while the driver slept. He was on the run for two years before being caught again. Since he’d escaped prior to trial, he was automatically deemed guilty and sentenced to 62 years in prison.
After doing 15 years, an old friend appealed the sentence with Lorenzo. He won, reducing his sentence to a 30-year term, doing 50% for good behavior. This effectively reduced his sentence to “time served,” and he was ordered to be released. At that moment, the District Attorney decided to press charges on Lorenzo’s escape (which was a misdemeanor at the time), calling it a “third strike” violation. This carries a 25-to-life term, which Lorenzo is now serving—and appealing. The “third strike” laws weren’t even in effect at the time he walked off the bus …
Well, I’m asking that you guys join me in seeking God for a favorable outcome to this appeal, so that Lorenzo can rejoin his family after these 18 years of incarceration. I’ll be fasting a meal on April 3rd and praying. Join me?
As I’ve mentioned recently, I’m ramping up my ministry focus here. Since you’ve prayed for me, God has blessed my efforts! I have a great opportunity to share Christ’s love with the new guys—especially while they’re still on “orientation” status—confined to their cells for their first 10 days here.
As I continue to develop the church member assimilation and discipleship materials in the next months, I’m looking forward to hearing more success stories like the ones about the guys whom I just reached out to on orientation in cells near me: two will be attending church, and another guy is interested.
A note I received from one of them this week said: “Christoper (we need to work on his spelling), I want to thank you for being kind to me. You don’t even know me, yet you blessed me with those delicious grilled sandwiches, toiletries, and most importantly, the glow you have has reminded me that God is powerful and shows His love through those He has chosen, in worthiness, to do His work. I can see the joy and peace in your demeanor is sincere, not phony. Sincerely, Ricky, in 147” Thank you for praying!
Please also pray for a young man named “Bam-Bam” who just went home after two years of incarceration. He did 13 months at “Old Folsom” prison—one of the state’s oldest and most violent prisons. He survived many beatings before refusing to play race politics any more and came on this side of the system, into protective custody.
Bam-Bam joined us for yard Bible Study on a day when I preached (he was the cellie of one of our members). I befriended him and had several long talks with him in the month he was here, discussing his exit strategy, his faith, and his support structure. I wrote him a send-off letter last night and was able to pray with him before he left. Please pray he follows what he’s learned to be true from God’s Word!
I love you all!