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tv   Lockup  MSNBC  December 9, 2012 2:00am-3:00am PST

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thinking and go crazy in cell. you can't do much but make the best of it, you know what i mean. i've got to be stronger, you know what i mean? test. test. ♪ >> a two on one assault.
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getting to the bottle of this fight requires some digging. >> are you going to stand there and lie to me some more. >> a popular restaurant owner accused of capital murder fights for his freedom. >> i am an innocent man. >> a self-avowed satinist. >> and a member of the arian brotherhood dishes out his own justice. i told him i had some bad news for him. .
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>> narrator: though san antonio texas might be remembered for the alamo, today, it's one of the fastest-growing cities in america. but increased growth also brings increased problems. >> for the longest period, stone was known as a large city with a small-town mentality. san antonio is the 7th largest growing city in the country. >> narrator: no more apparent than just outside downtown in the solid brick fortress that is the bear county jail. it's where anyone charged with criminal acts in san antonio will surely spend some time.
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>> my father always said nobody comes to jail for being nice. one thing we have to remember is people coming to jail have not been found guilty yet. >> most of the 3500 men and women housed in bear county have only been charged with crimes and are awaiting trial of the resolution of their cases. others have been convicted and are serving short sentences or are awaiting trial in prison. todd has been in and out of prisons for twenty years. he is currently awaiting charges of assault and vehicle theft, to which he's pled not guilty. >> i've been cut with razors, all around here. i mean, i got cut with a knife when this dude put six razors in
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a toothbrush. >> somebody tried to stab me in the chest and the heart. it's been rough. i've been in two fights since i've been in this jail. >> narrator: one of those fights occurred after another inmate made fun of allen's personal style. >> i'm the one that's got this horseshoe mustache in there and this guy is telling me hulk hogan and whatnot. i said i'm going to smash on you. i knocked him out the first punch. but i didn't stop then, i had to hold him down. and then the search came in with a tazer gun. >> the jail's special emergency response team, or sert, was called in to break up the fight. afterwards, allen was given ten days in segregation.
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locked down 23 hours a day with no privileges. but it's something he's grown used to. >> you do so many years in the pen, ain't nothing bothers you. >> narrator: allen's willingness to fight over his mustache is one of a seemingly endless supply of reasons others resort to violence. another fight is just broken up between three inmates in one of the general population housing units. >> the sert subdues the fighters and starts the investigation. the aggressors appear to be guadalupe lomes. neither man shows any sign of injury. victor sanchez will require medical attention.
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>> his obvious injuries are a black eye and a cut on the back of his head. sergeant tucker now takes over from sert in finding out what happened. >> i saw you swinging at him. you both had him cornered. you want to stand there and lie to me some more? >> no, sir, i just got hit and i hit him back. >> right, there was a lock down for nothing. what did you hit him with? >> my hand. >> who had the thing that cut the back of his head open?
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>> oh, i don't know about that. >> right. >> as tucker interrogates, sanchez undergoes his medical evaluation where an entirely new injury is discovered. >> who threw the water on him? >> i don't know about that. >> who threw the water on him? >> sir, with all-due respect, none of those injuries -- >> that wasn't fresh. who threw the water on him? >> that wasn't me. >> you're both getting charged. >> that wasn't me. >> while hernandez and lomez acknowledge fighting with sanchez, they insist some of the other injuries were from a fight
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two days earlier. so sergeant tucker calls the officer who was on duty at the time and the story seems to check out. >> because officers did not witness the fight and sanchez made no mention of it or discussed his injuries with staff, no disciplinary report was filed. but several inmates said that sanchez was, in fact, in an earlier fight lending credence to lomez. all three inmates will be locked in single-man segregation cells for a cooling off period of at least 24 hours.
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>> place your hands on the top bunk. lomez, who is serving a one-year sentence for burglarizing a vehicle says sanchez started this latest fight. >> he came out, came to my cell and then came back to his cell and wanted me to come inside. >> i take off my shirt, open the cell door and he comes out swinging. i did what i had to do. >> well, he turned around and threw water on me. and we started fighting. sanchez is accused of car theft to which he plans to plead not guilty. a life-long stutter. he says the fight resulted from
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a dispute with lomez. >> he was trying to fight with the stupid, game. >> oh, that's old news. i mean, maybe he needed money that day for whatever reason, maybe. that's fine. but the next time i see you, be man enough and say you know what, bro, i didn't mean it. here, i'll buy you a six pack. >> hernandez maintains he has no idea what the other two were fighting about. but when he got too close to the action, he had no choice but to join in. >> you know the way it's in here. it's just instinct. >> the other gentleman, i have no idea. i don't know if he got hit and started swinging back.
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but god is my witness, may he strike me back, i would deserve it if i threw hot water on that gentleman. no way. >> do you want to file charges? >> coming up, victor sanchez decides whether to raise the stakes and file criminal charges against his two attackers. >> he's been very successful. everyone in the neighborhood knew me and loved me. >> staff members are shocked to see a popular figure in jailhouse scrubs. ekend. derrell hasn't been able to visit his mom back east in a long time. [ shirley ] things are sometimes a little tight around the house. i wasn't able to go to the wedding. [ emily jo ] since derrell couldn't get home, we decided to bring home to him and then just gave him a little bit of help finding his way. ♪ [ laughs ] [ applause ] i love you. i love you, too.
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>> narrator: there are about 3500 men and women housed in san antonio's bear county jail. they share something in common with each other, and the staff. unlike prison, where inmates typically arrive from all over the state jails cater to a single county or city.
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so it's not unusual for anyone here to come across a familiar face. but when officer moore first noticed thomas, he was more than a little surprised. >> at first, i saw the guy and i was like, is that him? i said nah, that's not him. >> no, that's not him. >> three years earlier, he was making a name for himself in san antonio. due to the popularity of his barbecue restaurant and caterering service. >> i thought i would check out his bbq, and his food was delicious. his brisket, whatever you name, he did it. >> narrator: officer moore's brother who is also a deputy at the jail was a fan, as well. >> he came to my home and caterered my kid's party. came over, you know, he barbecued it. everything was wonderful. it was beautiful. like i say, he was a pillar in the community.
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>> everyone knew me and loved me. and i always showed up to the neighborhood. >> i believe that god allowed me to come here. i am definitely an innocent man. and just sad to say a tragedy happen. and it cost me to lose everything. >> narrator: fames is in jail on capital murder and concealing a human corpse. prosecutors say he was part of a drug deal gone bad. while fames has pled not guilty, his codefendant recently confessed to a double murder in the case and was sentenced to two consecutive life terms. >> that was someone you could trust. >> fames would not elaborate on the details of his case. but he says he is confident he will be acquitted. and the three and a half years he's served will serve a
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purpose. >> it's not what man says, what our people say and what our friends say. we've got to build our life on what god says. god is worthy. the truth. >> god allowed me to provide this word in this prison: i have enough faith right now to know that god has everything ready for me. >> narrator: fames leads bible study for the men in his housing unit. he is regarded as a jailhouse pastor. but in another unit, michael leisher pledges an alliance to a different entity. >> you have lucifer and satan. in death i found life and hell is my paradise. this is my paradise.
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his life is illuminated by all of his tattoos. they were all accumulated in his prison stays. >> it's better than some of the scratches i've seen on some inmates. but it's really not all that extravagant. it's definitely not street-quality work. it was all single needle. >> i was 24 when i got the tattoo on my head. the horns, itself, it's just me being an outlaw. somebody that's a little devil himself. >> at the time that i got that tattoo, i had a real strict belief in being antichristian. i believe if there's a god looking down at me, he's got something looking right back up at him. my original belief is satanism, as in the original terms of the word. it just means a representation and acceptance of negative energy being there to let us know what positive energy is. you can't have one without the other: it's a balance.
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>> but in leisher's case, his negative energy seems to have far eclipsed his positive. >> i've been in prison my whole life. i did 10 years in the feds, you know. and now, i mean, my charges, i don't want to go into detail, but my charge now is two organized crime cases, three counts of burglar with force. he has pled not guilty. his repeat offender status could bring a lengthy sentence if he's convicted. >> i'm a violent criminal facing violent charges. a three-time loser. >> narrator: coming up, michael leisher and thomas fames, both receive important news. >> i don't care if they put me in lockdown or what, i'm going to smash him. ♪
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>> narrator: when new inmates arrive at san antonio's bear
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county jail, officials ask them about any known enemies they might already have here. they then place those inmates in separate housing units. but inmates rarely disclose every conflict they have on the streets such as the dispute that led to the recent fight between two inmates. sanchez initially claims that he sustained a black eye, burns to his chest, and a cut on the back of his head, in a fight with lomez and sanchez. both of whom admitted to the fight but denied the injuries. >> is he the one that threw the water on you? >> no, no. >> who threw the walter on you?
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>> i don't know about that. >> narrator: after sergeant tucker investigated a rumor that sanchez had fought with two other inmates days earlier, sanchez admitted that the black eye came from that fight, as did the cut on the back of his head, which was reopened in the fight with lomez and hernandez. but he still insists they were the ones that burned him with hot water. >> sanchez, do you want to file charges? >> should i? >> it's up to you. i will tell you that if you don't file charges, the county is going to file them anyway. that's serious bodily injury. >> yeah, i'll press charges. >> on all four of them? >> what four? the two from two days ago? we really can't do anything about that right now. the only thing we can work on right now is this case right here. >> yeah, i want to press charges. >> okay. that's all i need to know. >> that's what they get. they assaulted me. i got assaulted. so they're going to see what they can do. what it will come to now.
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>> as a member of the arian brotherhood gang, todd alen has seen his share of violence behind bars, as well. >> that's what we was trained here for. whatever we've got to do. we need to pull. grab whatever you can grab and hit somebody over the head with it. i found out there was a child molester in here. he assaulted a 13-year-old girl, he is a 38-year-old man. man, you don't do that. >> those that have charges against children, they tend to become pray. some tend to make it out of population. they find out that their lives are being threatened and everything like that. we have to separate them. >> laws can only protect a person for so long. you can get to them and kill a person right here in this jailhouse, if you know what you're doing. >> believe it or not, we have individuals here in the facility
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who, themselves, do not like those type of crimes and they will try to secret re get retro. >> and even though attacking the alleged sex offender in his housing unit could result in additional criminal charges, allen says he's up for the job and intends to follow through. >> i don't care if they put me on lockdown or what, i'm going to smash him. you don't do that to kids, man. that could have been my daughter. that could have been your daughter. you don't hold one down and force yourself on nobody, man. a kid is a kid. that's a gift from god. >> thomas fames has been banking on a different gift from god. fames has been charged with murder and concealing a corpse in what has been called a drug deal gone back. >> this is what i wrote a long time ago. love god and be careful what you wish for, i'm going home.
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>> i wrote that when i first got here. there are scripttures i pass out every day to inmates. they're passed out every day, rain or shy. >> we call him brother thomas. every day, he takes it upon himself, he has a little piece of paper with three bible verses. >> fame's popularity is not unlike what he enjoyed on the outside as the owner of a barbecue restaurant and caterering service. >> had an opportunity to get a partnership with a gentleman and we started building the business together. so god blessed me with this
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young man, and he bought a trailer. so not only one trailer, we had two trailers and we had two locations. >> one of his customers is now one of his jail keepers. officer moore hired fames to caterer parties at his home and took note to businesses growth. >> i asked him how did you get this money? he said there's a rich benefactor who believes in me. okay, cool. do your thing. >> narrator: moore was startled to see fames in jail as an inmate. >> that, basically, made my heart drop. and i was kind of upset. like what are you doing in here. i told him, straight up: don't lie to me, man. >> fames told moore he was innocent. >> when you know the truth, the truth will set you free. and when you know the truth, you don't have to answer any questions or ask god any questions.
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>> narrator: coming up. >> this is the year of release and when god is going to start releasing his chosen ones. and i'm one of those that he's going to be releasing. >> thomas fames finds out if he will be released free. >> most people think they can't.
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hey there, here is what's happening, a u.s. doctor rescued by taliban insurgents. the mission was ordered after u.s. forces learned that he was ineminent danger. linebacker jerry brown, the member of the team's practice squad, died in the one-vehicle crash. that is the nuews at this hour. >> announcer: due to mature subject matter, viewer
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discretion is advised. >> i'll help you with self-esteem and all of that, man >> i'll miss you. i'll be home soon. every day. no, stop. >> don't worry ant -- about it. >> narrator: most inmates at san antonio's bear county jail find working out is one way to beat the monotony of incarceration. and michael leisher is no exception. >> most people think they can't do pull ups from it.
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>> narrator: the pull up method is against jail rules. he says his sets are short enough that he can usually do them out of sight of roaming officers. >> after the workout, try your hardest to make everything you put in your body, proteins, starches, things that are going to be stackers, you know, body stackers. that's how you grow. if you don't get enough food, you can only use what you put in your body. if you work more than that, they're going to burn off what you put in your body. again, 40 pounds, 44 pounds since i've been here, i don't think too much of it is fat, you know what i mean? so i've got a six pack. i'm doing all right. >> unlike most inmates, leisher finds the meal served by the jail to be effective in feeling the rigorous workouts that help keep that six pack from turning
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into a keg. >> understand all of my carbohydrates. i can eat things like bread, sugars. it breaks down into a glucose. i use it before energy to work out. >> and leisher has also figured out how to acquire food trays from other inmates. most of them are willing to purchase from the commissary. leisher is more than willing to deal. >> when i think logically, i might as well trade that stuff to the kids that love that stuff. they're hungry. i'm sitting there working out. i've got enough food in my body to do it. >> leisher pays for the commissary snacks through another one of his talents. >> what are those? >> these are poker chips.
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$2.50 chips, 5 cent chips, 10 cent chips. you know what i mean? but, like i said, it's up to me to survive. my family does what they can. but they can't do too much. they're retired and living off of a fixed income. i hustle. poker tends to be a good hustle for somebody that played it 15 years. i feed off of it. >> leisher learns commissary through one other method, as well. >> it's already sold before i did it. i have a handkerchief that i'm going to be working on. what i do is braid the edges. and then i'll put the portrait of the man's kid and his wife on there. charn $ . >> charn $4 for the hankercheif.
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>> managing the dollars and cents of life behind bars is a skill lesher has honed over his 15 years of incarceration. todd allen has also spent most of the past 20 years in and out of jail in prison. now, he's taking it upon himself to uphold another inmate tradition. one with a decidedly more sinister side. >> we don't allow snitches and we don't allow child molesters. >> when allen discovered an accused child molester had moved on to his housing unit, he threatened to dish out his own form of justice. >> he informs his cell, i went in behind him and shut the door, the door was shut and locked. i said hey, get up, punk. i've got bad news for you. i said you got three seconds to tell me the truth. he said yes, sir, that's what i'm in here for. and i slapped the [bleep] out of
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him about three times. if i had a lot of time on my hands, say i had a life sentence in prison or 20 years, i'd have killed the guy. >> basically, the unit officer called me in b and said he had an inmate that was in fear of his safety. so i went to the unit to interview the inmate. at that time, we sent him down to medical to be evaluated by medical staff where he alleges that he fell off of his bunk. >> jail officials wr unable to issue any punitive sanctions. >> i'm not going to say yeah, i did do it. but if they find out any different, i'll tell you the consequences. i still feel happy about myself, you know. >> allen is proud to take credit for assaulting another inmate. jail officials have been sorting out who's responsible for the water burn suffered by victor
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sanchez. sanchez blames lomez and hernandez, they say the burns were from an earlier fight with two other inmates. >> is he the one who threw the water on you? >> no, no. >> i don't know about that. he was all right like that. >> there was no water on the floor. >> >> who had the thing that cut the back of his head open? >> i don't know about that. >> then he comes and says where's the weapon? i said what weapon, fool? maybe he bumped his head up on the door because he had already had a cut. i did what i had to do, but i didn't use a weapon to cut him or anything like that. and i sure as hell didn't throw no water. >> i'm not a fruit. i didn't get to be 48 by being
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an idiot. >> after a disciplinary hearing on the matter, the truth finally came out. sanchez admitted all of his injuries, including the burns caused in the earlier fight. even the bloody wound on the back of his head. the criminal charges sanchez was going to file have been dropped. but sometimes, in jail, the settling of one dispute is simply the calm before the next storm. coming up -- >> you talk like a duck, you walk like a duck, don't get mad at me if i think you're a duck. there's only one person with inconsistent stories. that's a liar. guadalupe lomez suffers a beating of his own.
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>> narrator: inside the walls of san antonio's bear county jail, thomas thames has spent the last three years trying to fit his 6'9" on a considerably shorter bed. the former basketball player and barbecue restaurant owner has also been fighting charges of murder and concealing a corpse in a case described as a drug deal gone bad. >> i had a dream about god releasing me. and opening the gates so i can be out. and that's the picture right there that i have on the wall. this is jupiter. this is the year of release. and this is when god is going to start releasing his chosen ones. and i'm one of those that he's going to be releasing. >> narrator: and according to thames, his statement is no longer one of faith but of fact. >> i went to court and they said heywood, when are you ready?
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i didn't know i was getting my case dismissed. i knew it was going to be dismissed, but i didn't know when. so when i went to court, i was ready to be dismissed. it took me seconds -- or it took me five minutes to get my case dismissed. i had just spent three and a half years for what it only took five minutes to do. i should be leaving any day. today, tomorrow, wednesday. i'm just waiting on paperwork to be cleared up. as soon as e get out, my job is to preach the word. >> thames did, in fact, leave the jail. he did have the most serious of his charges, murder, dismissed. he had given us an inaccurate account of what happened in court. >> unlawful carrying a gun and the capital murder cases were dismissed. and in court, they found him guilty of the disposing of a human corpse, where he was sentenced to 10 years, tdc. >> why would he have thought he was going to go straight from jail home?
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>> now, that part would be a misinterpretation in his part. >> he was there in front of the judge with his attorney. so whether he didn't understand or if he knew and maybe really misrepresenting the truth to you, i don't know. >> but he's there in front of the judge and everybody pleading out to tdc. >> he had already been transferred to a texas state prison to begin serving his sentence. with the time he has already served taken into account, he will be eligible for parole in a little more than a year. one of his former customers hope it will serve as an important lesson. i want him to get back on track and let him know, you know what, these chances are given to you
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for a reason. you can't mess it up. >> narrator: officer rodriguez has received a report that he has an operative for the mexican mafia. >> your name came up in a report, victor. you don't know the report we're talking about? roughly 20 days ago? no, someone else was in fear for you. the report says that this guy fears that you and a bunch of other inmates are basically strong arming him and other inmates and that you're ex-mexican mafia. you have a history of being identified as a gang member in the past. the thing is, there's 44 units in that unit. why would he do that?
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why would he pick you. >> i don't know who he is. >> it doesn't matter who he is. the point is he identified you. we want to go ahead and try to weed out the major prison gangs from general population because these particular gangs are predatory gangs and they prey upon the weaker inmates. we want to get them out of population so we can make the jail, as a whole, safer for inmates and staff. >> so you understand what i'm telling you right? >> i'm going on lockdown? >> you probably will today. >> why? >> my job is to figure out where we're going to house you at. >> but i'm not doing nothing. why should i go on lockdown if i'm not doing anything? you could look at my reports. >> i am looking at your reports. >> i'm not getting in trouble. i'm not getting write ups. >> we're talking about a report you were involved in. why do you think this guy would identify you as a member of the mexican mafia? >> who is he? >> it doesn't matter who he is. why would he say that?
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>> to put you on lockdown. >> why would he want to do that to you? why does somebody want to get rid of you? >> i don't know. i don't have no response to that. because i don't know. >> officer rodriguez changes course, and asks sanchez about the fight he was in with guadalupe lomez. >> you got in a fight with two guys, didn't you? or one guy? what was that about? >> money. >> talking about drugs here? know, talking about money he owed me. >> how much did he owe you? >> $50. >> for what? >> for fixing his car. >> when they did the investigation, you told them it
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was for beer. >> it was beer and the car. >> only one person has inconsistent stories is a liar. you talk like a duck, you walk like a duck, don't get mad at me if i think you're a duck, you know what i mean? >> still, without concrete proof, officer rodriguez has no choice but to return him to population. >> we may have to keep an eye on him to see what his ties were. maybe we can identify more inmates, and get them out of the population.
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>> a couple days ago, he was involved in an assault. the inmates were out, and took it upon themselves to assault inmate lomez. >> the inmates who assaulted lomez would not appear on camera could face criminal charges. >> no one knows the reasons why they assaulted him. >> what were the allegations? >> mexican mafia. supposedly, guys trying to make a name for themselves, and took it upon themselves to assault lomez. >> lomez, despite his injuries, would not give anyone information about why he was assaulted. so for now, he will be treated for his wounds, and be
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transferred today another location, away from his assailants. >> coming up, jail brings hard truths for michael leisher, and -- >> it's hard, man. todd allen receives disturbing news from the courts and home. a? campbell's healthy request soup lets you hear it... in your heart. [ basketball bouncing ] heart healthy. great taste. mmm... [ male announcer ] sounds good. it's amazing what soup can do. [ male announcer ] we began serving handcrafted coffees in seattle, and people seemed to like it. so we wondered -- where else could we take this? ♪ for over 40 years, we've brought our passion for fine coffee and espresso to people everywhere. but one place was impossible, until now. our lattes, espresso and brewed coffee, now in your home.
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♪ the words of a warrior ♪ oh, close, the words of a warrior ♪ ♪ my family, my friends, my home boys ♪ ♪ doing everything i know being wrong ♪ ♪ and it is so true when they sing that song ♪ ♪ everything that you do comes back tenfold ♪ ♪ a product of the bad life in the bad land ♪ ♪ only made one thing that's a
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bad man ♪ ♪ what i have become people cannot understand ♪ >> i wanted to be a rapper. but it never happened. ♪ ♪ ♪ it's a risk that we take ♪ there's always going to be somebody standing in your way ♪ ♪ ready to take your place >> narrator: michael leisher has spent half of his life behind bars and is now facing three counts of burglary wi. >> he has turned down a plea deal for 25 years. if found guilty, he could get life in prison. if he is set free, he will have a different set of challenges. >> i don't know what to do in
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the free world. i don't know how to pay light bills, how to pay rent, do a w 2 form, nobody taught me, so another person just balled up and thrown me away like a piece of trash. a life ended before it started. >> while he awaits his fate, he made friends with another inmate that could also be looking at a long sentence if he is found guilty. todd allen was transferred. >> a little different look. this one right here is gang related, you know what i'm saying? five star crime, arian brotherhood. the lightning bolts too, man. just represents, man.
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>> he also got something new from the district attorney. a plea deal offer on his charges of assault and vehicle theft. because of his past record, he could face significant time in prison if he was found guilty in trial. >> ten years on both charges -- i'm like no, man, get it down to five years. >> alen is anxious to leave because of another piece of news. he got news his mother is gravely ill, and fears he will never see her again. >> she has lung cancer really bad, she's on breathing machines. even though people think i'm cold hearted, in a way i am, but i want to be able to see my mom before she does pass on, you know. >> if allen quickly accepts a plea deal, he could get a prison
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closer to his mother's home. >> i was in there 14 days in february with pneumonia, i almost died, so, you know, just ask god for forgiveness, he will forgive you. >> if he doesn't accept a deal, he may have though be acquitted to see her, and even he feels that's a long shot. >> she's a real good woman, she has gone through hard times, take beatings, i'm a hard core dude, you won't see me cry, but when it comes to that, it's hard. just to see her one more time, i would take five years. i might even take ten. i feel like when i lose my mom, it's over. she's special to me, man. she really is.


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