George Gets a Clean Slate
By Tim Smith
The 700 Club
CBN.com- George Layton had a rap sheet a mile long; grand theft auto, receiving stolen property, forgery, robbery – and murder.
“I was a co-conspirator and spent 364 days going to trial for special circumstance 1st degree murder, which is a mandatory death penalty,” says George.
George’s problems started years earlier. At sixteen, he moved out and struggled to make it on his own. When his dreams to have a ranch fell through, he began to steal. Cattle rustling in California and robbery were his first crimes.
“After being arrested for the cattle, I had a piece of heavy equipment that I needed to get rid of because it wasn’t mine and I got arrested for that too. They gave me 3 years for grand theft.”
George was released on parole when he was 23.
“The wonderful thing about parole is they put you right straight back where all the hell broke loose and where everything was going on, right where all your old friends are. You know, the biggest thing to do when somebody gets out of prison is throw them a bag of dope and a bottle and the party’s on. And everything starts up again from there,” says George.
A few years later, two of George’s friends had a plan for a robbery. They asked George to help them.
“I explained to them how to do this thing properly. And they went off to do that drunk. And one of them accidentally pulled the trigger and shot the guy in the head and killed him.”
George went to prison again. This time, for conspiracy to commit residential robbery with a firearm. George went to trial, and was facing the death penalty.
He eventually accepted a deal, and got eight years. The man who pulled the trigger got 25 years to life. George earned “good time credits” in prison, and was released after four and a half years.
“When I got out, I was doing okay, going to church. Then I fell back into the old addiction of methamphetamine and drinking. And I got married to a woman that her hobby was drinking and methamphetamine also. But that was the most miserable time of my life, because God kept calling and calling. And I couldn’t do enough drugs and I couldn’t do enough alcohol to make it stop. It was always there. And I was always miserable.
“I was quite sure God wanted nothing to do with me by that time in my life. And anytime that I might hear or feel the tug of the spirit, I was sure that that was just my imagination. Cause there was no way that God would want something to do with me after all I had done.”
George’s wife left him for another man. That same day, he was driving his 18-wheeler home from work.
“I went around a turn and I saw a girl standing on the side of the road and she wanted to cross in front of me, and then she thought better of it and waited. And then as my front half of my 18-wheeler got past her, she apparently did not realize that I had a trailer or misjudged the timing.
“And I watched her run into the back axel of my trailer. And go into the back tires of my trailer. And yeah, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”
The young woman died. It was ruled an accident, and no charges were filed against George. He went home that day to an empty house. And he had nightmares about the accident every night.
“Finally about the end of the 2nd week, it was right about 2;00 in the morning and I woke up after having a nightmare about the whole thing again and I’d had enough. I just sat up for the first time in this whole ordeal, I prayed. It wasn’t elaborate or anything special, I just said, ‘Jesus, fix me. Just fix me’.”
The next Sunday, George went to church.
“The whole ordeal came out of me like somebody had dropped a bomb on a dam. It all just came out. I don’t know if you’ve ever wore a back pack in your life before, but I felt it come off. The guilt, it was gone.
“It was then that I found that not only the guilt that I had been carrying but the addiction to the meth, the co-dependency, the Jack Daniels, it was all gone.
“And things have not been the same since. All I can say about this is looking back over everything that had happened in my life, and in running from God and thinking that He wouldn’t forgive somebody that had done the things that I had, how stupid I was.
Then George met Debra and they married.
“We started going to church and it wasn’t long after that that she invited Jesus to be her Savior also. Then I got to participate in baptizing her. I’m just telling you, life is so much different now than it used to be.”
George says his lengthy rap sheet is now a clean slate because of the forgiveness of God.
“And a life like mine and the things that I had done, gave it to Jesus. There’s forgiveness, there’s new life, there’s everything in trusting God. Just take that one step, that’s all it takes.”
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