SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole at Angola — but a US Supreme court ruling helped free a Shreveport man after he spent 30 years behind bars.
Terrence Winn, 46, has been home for about two months. Unfortunately, he is seeing the same type of violence that sent him away in the first place. Now with this second chance at freedom, he shared with KSLA News 12′s Domonique Benn how he wants to be a part of the solution.
The road to Angola and back has not been an easy one. Terrance says when he went to Angola, he was the youngest inmate serving time there — at the age of 16.
Winn says bad decisions caught up with him as a teenager. But it was one of those bad decisions that changed his life drastically.
“I had everything to be somebody,” Winn said. “I had every opportunity everyone else had, but I choose to do something different.”
On Christmas Day 1989, the then-teenager went to a party in Shreveport. Winn says a fight broke out between him and another young man. The fight ended in gunfire. Terrance says the young man he was fighting with was shot, but an innocent bystander was killed.
“Sadly, I was a person that took this person’s life.”
Every day behind bars for 30 years, Winn has had to think about the pain he caused the victim’s family. He said he wished he had listened to those who had his best interest.
“A lot of people been telling me to stop hanging with this bad crowd and stop being in the public like a thug and I wasn’t listening.
Bad decisions cost him his freedom, leading to Angola State Prison where he would spend the rest of his natural life.
While there, Terrance missed out on many of life’s milestones and lost both of his parents.
In 2012 in a court case called Miller v. Alabama, the United States Supreme Court ruled juveniles can’t be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In 2016, in Montgomery v. Louisiana, the United States Supreme Court made the previous ruling retroactive.
These two rulings paved the way for Winn to walk out of Angola a free man.
Since he has been home, he said he is trying to help better Shreveport. It may take someone like Terrance to reach young juveniles.
“You need people like me that’s coming from prison, people these guys are going to listen to because they know us. They see us and they know what we just did, and they are trying to do that.”
Winn’s book “In No Sense” is expected to be released later this month. He is also filming a documentary.
He’s hoping the younger generation learns from his story.
“As you wake up every day listen to your parents, love your parents, and do what they say.”
Terrance is already getting requests for public speaking all over the city to save our youth.