Heroes can be found everywhere, even in a jail inmate.
Antonio Brown, the hero was sentenced to one and a half years in jail for a crime and wasn’t expecting to get out any soon. But when Kent County Circuit Judge Mark Trusock awarded Brown a “get out of jail free card” for what he did, he was probably the first ever to be able to do that.
Thirty-one-year-old Antonio Duane Brown was arrested and sentenced to one-and-a-half to five years in prison for fleeing and eluding an officer in Grand Rapids, Michigan on September 13, 2014. But just hours into serving his prison sentence at Kent County Jail, Brown got a second chance at freedom for his doing the right thing in the early morning of September 14.
A female prison guard was on shift the night that would be Brown’s first in serving his sentence, when inmate Willie Williams requested toilet paper from the guard. The unnamed guard used a remote unlocking system to let Williams out of the cell so he could help himself to some toilet paper, and when she heard the door shut and lock, she assumed he was back where he was supposed to be—inside his prison cell.
But to her horrifying discovery, Williams was actually hiding behind a pillar waiting for the her to walk by.
The unknowing guard began to make her rounds patrolling the grounds when Williams jumped from the shadows and viciously attacked her.
Williams knocked the radio from her hands and pressed the buttons to release the other inmates. Just when the prison guard didn’t think things could get any worse, she saw 6 to 7 prisoners, freshly released from their cells, approaching the scene, but to both Williams and the guard’s surprise, they came to her rescue.
Led by Brown, the inmates courageously fought off Williams and defended her from the vicious attacker—even using her radio to call for help.
Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma said Brown took the initiative to rescue the officer and led the others to help him. “He came to the officer’s aid. He took the assailant (Williams) and separated him from the officer,” Stelma said. “He was the first one there to help and gave her some reprieve.”
Stelma suggested to Judge Truscok he resentence the man for his life-saving actions.
Kent County Prosecutor Bill Forsyth had no objections to the resentencing and permitted Judge Trusock to do so, calling it an unprecedented event. “I’ve been in the office 30 plus years and I’ve never seen it. Which is, I suppose, a good thing because you don’t want this sort of thing to happen very often,” he told Mlive.
The Judge agreed.
“Sir, I think this is something that you did that was heroic, that was brave, and honorable, and I think it needs to be taken into effect in your sentencing,” Judge Trusock told Brown.
Judge Trusock called Brown’s actions “brave” and “honorable.”
“You intervened at your own peril and pulled that individual off of her, probably saved her life and protected her from him attacking her again,” Trusock said.
The Judge gave Brown credit for 149 days served–shaving 4.5 months off his total sentence, and and thanked him on behalf of the judicial system.
Sheriff Mark Stelma hopes Brown will use this unprecedented second chance to turn his life around.
“My hope and prayer is that this event has…when he recognizes that he’s recognized for good behavior and can utilize this as a turning point in his life,” Stelma said.