Sandra Hendrix -- #102312

60 Years -- Drug Conspiracy

Sandra Hendrix with her family
On July 26, 2000 I was sentenced to 71 years in prison --11 years of that to run concurrent -- for a total of 60 years in prison. My close friend was facing habitual theft charges in Indiana, so he told the police that I was a big-time drug dealer in Toledo, Ohio, and that I had been his dealer for eight years. In reality, I had been nothing more than a friend to him. I had been there for him through a 4-year prison term, writing letters, sending money and accepting his collect calls. I also opened my home to him, and made him a part of my family.

With the promises of marriage, and an engagement ring on my hand, he played on the problems I had being involved with an addict -- begged, pleaded and finally made me feel guilty. I bought and delivered the drugs to Indiana. He had the police agents waiting my arrival.

Needless to say, under current snitch sentencing considerations, he received a letter notifying him all the charges against him were dropped as a result of my conviction.

I'm a 46-year-old mother of five and grandmother of 14. I adopted three of my grandchildren in whom I've raised since birth -- Amanee (6), Zafir (5) and Frank (13). Zafir was born with brain damage and is a special needs child. As a result of my absence, Zafir has become violent, causing serious harm to other children.

I was the only real mother he knew and being torn out of his life has made his condition worse. My two sons are raising the three youngest children, so between both households, they support ten children.

My family is slowly and painfully falling apart. Both of my parents have been gone for many years. My children's father is also deceased, and with the head of the household incarcerated -- where now can they turn?

I led a productive and fruitful life for almost ten years, despite my daily battle with addiction. I believe in my heart that if my family were not black, and low income (unable to afford proper council), I would have done better in trial, and received a more balanced sentence.

I can't bring myself to accept that my grandchildren will grow up without me, or that I will die in prison.

On July 1, 2001, less than a year after my sentencing, Indiana's drug laws changed, giving alternate sentencing to drug dealers and treatment to addicts.

Meanwhile grandma is serving the rest of her life in prison, searching for a way out.


"A Way Out: Through God's Grace"

October 10, 2004

Dear November Coalition,

Thank you for publishing my story titled, "Sentenced to 60 Years", on the Wall web site. I would like to give you a summary, informing you of the events leading to my 2004 miracle, while keeping in mind the words that ended my publication: "Meanwhile grandma is serving the rest of her life in prison, searching for a way out."

It all began in July of 2000, the day I received 60 years in prison. Only hope allowed me to rise above the impact of that sentence while standing on Mark 11:22-24, the promises of God. The Lord spoke to my heart. He told me not to worry, to just trust and believe in Him and everything would be all right. I held onto and claimed those soft spoken words and immediately found peace.

Never once did I claim or except the sentence man handed me! Though along the way I sometimes wondered to myself, "Was it really the Lord speaking to me that day, or did the impact of sentencing cause me to lose my mind?" When my world seemed most dismal, how does hope emerge victoriously? "Each morning I would lean my arms upon the window sill of Heaven and gaze upon the Lord." Then with that vision in my heart I turned strong to meet the day.

It's been years since I began to call on those things that were not as though they were, Romans 4:17. Many prayers have gone up and many have been answered.

In 2002, I appeared back before my Judge, due to a victory in my appeal through the Supreme Court. My sentence of 60 do 30 was reduced to 34 do 17, "and the beginning of God's best for me." Shortly after, in 2002, I filed another motion called a P.C.R. (Post Conviction Relief) Through prayer, faith and obedience to God's word I received a miracle, and His best. On August 24, 2004, I was resentenced to 13 years do 6 1/2 years with 5 years probation. My present out date is 4-23-06, all to the glory of God.

I've also started the phase 1 substance abuse program. Once completed I will be eligible for a six-month time cut moving my out date up to 2005. Through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, grandma found a way out and a second chance at life. As long as there are organizations like The November Coalition to stand by us and God's word to stand on, "There will always be hope."

Thank you for your love and concern, Sandra Hendrix