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Convicted Killer Forgiven

Raul Dominguez thought that escaping Cuba would lead to a better life in the united States, but his criminal ways soon landed him behind bars in the land of the free. Read Transcript


Reporter: WE A OFTEN

DESCRIBE PEOPLE BY WHAT THEY

DO OR WHAT THEY'VE DONE.

WE LABEL ONE A GANG MEMBER,

ANOTHER A PROSTITUTE.

OR A DEAD-BEAT OR A

CRIMINAL.

RAOL DOMINGUS HAS LIVED MOST

OF HIS LIFE WITH THREE

LABELS: TROUBLE-MAKER, DRUG

ADDICT, AND MURDERER.

HE GREW UP IN COMMUNIST

CUBA, AND HIS FATHER WAS AN

ALCOHOLIC.

HE USED TO DRINK A LOT,

AND MY MOTHER WAS THE ONE HE

PHYSICALLY ABUSED.

I BELIEVE SHE USED TO TAKE

ALL OF THE ANGER THAT SHE

HAD AGAINST MY FATHER

TOWARDS ME.

AND SHE BEAT ME UP.

Reporter: THROUGHOUT

HIS CHILDHOOD, RAOL RAN AWAY

FROM HOME MANY TIMES.

EACH TIME THE POLICE CAUGHT

HIM AND TOOK HIM BACK.

HE REBELLED BY STEALING,

FIGHTING, AND SKIPPING

SCHOOL.

I WAS SO BAD, ONE DAY MY

MOTHER SAID I WISH YOU WERE

NEVER BORN.

Reporter: RAUL'S MOTHER

PUT HIM IN A PUBLIC REFORM

SCHOOL, BUT HIS PROBLEMS GOT

WORSE.

I WAS SMOKING AND

DRINKING AND STEALING MONEY

FROM MY PARENTS TO DRINK.

DOING EVERYTHING ANYONE

COULD DO.

Reporter: AT 17, RAUL

AN A FEW FRIENDS ATTACKED A

MAN AND BEAT HIM.

WE TOOK ALL OF HIS MONEY,

SHOES, EVERYTHING, AND WE

LED HIM DEAD, NAKED, ON THE

SIDE OF THE ROAD.

THE POLICE CATCH US, AND WE

WENT TO PRISON FOR 10 TO

20.

Reporter: WHILE RAUL

WAS IN PRISON, THE CARTER

ADMINISTRATION STARTED

OFFERING REFUGE FOR PRISON

INMATES.

AND CASTRO OPENED DOORS AND

HUNDREDS GOT IN BOATS HEADED

FOR AMERICA.

I COULDN'T FIND WORK

BECAUSE THERE WAS SO MANY

PEOPLE.

ALL THERE WAS WAS CRIME.

Reporter: ONE NIGHT

AFTER DRINKING AND DOING

ACID, RAUL GOT INTO A FIGHT

AT A PARTY.

ONE GUY GOT KILLED.

EVERYBODY WAS ALWAYS, RAUL,

THE CUBAN GUY, DOES THE

KILLING.

Reporter: HE WAS

ARRESTED AND CONVICTED OF

SECOND-DEGREE MURDER.

THEY GAVE ME 23 YEARS TO

LIFE IN THE STATE PRISON.

AND I STAYED 23 YEARS IN THE

PRISON, AND I HAD A ROUGH

TIME.

I WAS LONELY.

NO FAMILY, NO NOTHING.

Reporter: BUT A WOMAN

NAMED LOU HEARD ABOUT RAUL

AT HER CHURCH AND VISITED

HIM IN PRISON.

SHE SAID SOMEBODY GAVE ME

YOUR NAME IN CHURCH.

YOU DON'T MIND?

I SAID NO, I DON'T MIND.

Reporter: SHE CAME BACK

WEEK AFTER WEEK AND SHE

TALKED ABOUT HAVING A

RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.

SHE ALWAYS PRAYED FOR

ME.

I REMEMBER I WENT BACK TO MY

ROOM, AND I SAID, LORD, I

DON'T KNOW.

I CAN'T DO THIS ON MY OWN.

I NEED YOU.

I GAVE MY LIFE TO THE LORD

IN '93 AND I NEVER DID LOOK

BACK.

I KNOW I MADE MISTAKES, BUT

GOD CHANGED MY LIFE

COMPLETELY.

I USED TO HATE PEOPLE LIKE

CRAZY.

AND EVERYTHING WAS CHANGED.

PEOPLE WERE SAYING, WHAT IS

GOING ON WITH YOU?

I DON'T DO DRUGS NO MORE.

PEOPLE COME AND INVITE ME,

AND I SAY, NO, I DON'T DO

DRUGS NO MORE.

I QUIT.

I'VE GOT JESUS IN MY LIFE.

Reporter:

IN 2004 RAUL

WAS PAROLLED AND SET FREE.

HE FOUND A CHURCH AND

STARTED A NEW JOB.

HE ALSO MET AND MARRIED

MANO.

I TOLD ONE OF MY CLOSE

FRIENDS THAT I MADE A

DECISION TO MARRY RAUL, AND

SHE SAID, ARE YOU SURE, WITH

HIS BACKGROUND AND

EVERYTHING?

AND I SAID THE ONLY REASON

THAT YOU'RE NOT SURE AND YOU

DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS IS

BECAUSE YOU DON'T KNOW THE

GOD THAT I SERVE AND THE

POWER -- THE TRANSFORMING

POWER THAT HE HAS IN

PEOPLE'S LIVES WHEN THEY

SURRENDER TO HIM.

AND I KNOW THAT POWER.

WHEN I LOOK AT RAUL, I DON'T

SEE THOSE THINGS IN THE

PAST.

TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH, I

CAN'T EVEN PICTURE, WHEN I

HEAR THE STORIES AND WE TALK

ABOUT THEM OFTEN -- HE'S NOT

THE SAME PERSON AT ALL.

Reporter: WHEN RAUL

LOOKS BACK AT HIS PAST, HE

COMPARES HIMSELF TO A PIT

BULL.

I LOVE PIT BULLS, THE

DOGS, BECAUSE IN MY LIFE,

YOU KNOW, I FELT LIKE A PIT

BULL.

NOBODY WANTED TO KNOW

NOTHING ABOUT ME BECAUSE OF

MY BEHAVIOR WITH PEOPLE.

AND ALL I WANT TO DO IS

FIGHT FOR NOTHING.

AND IT WAS THE WAY I WAS

RAISED, THE WAY I GOT

BROUGHT UP.

BECAUSE ALL I KNOW HOW TO DO

WAS FIGHT AND ROB AND

STEAL.

SO I FIND THE ONE THAT COMES

TO GIVE LIFE IN ABUNDANCE.

HE SAID COME TO ME THE WAY

YOU ARE.

DON'T TRY AND HIDE

ANYTHING.

JUST COME TO ME THE WAY YOU

ARE, CONFESS YOUR SIN,

REPENT, AND YOU WILL HAVE A

GOOD LIFE.

NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE.

IF YOU'RE IN PRISON, IF

YOU'RE ON THE STREET, NO

MATTER IF YOU'RE HIDING

BEHIND DRUGS OR ALCOHOL.

NO MATTER IF YOU'VE BEEN

MOLESTED.

NO MATTER WHAT YOUR LIFE HAS

BEEN, GOD ALWAYS HAS THE WAY

TO SENT YOU FREE.

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