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Convict Changes Life On The Run…Inside Prison Walls

Bill was relieved when the FBI finally arrested him because he could finally get his life right. But prison was worse than he expected, and when a fellow inmate invited Bill on a run, he found a friend, a mentor, and a new source of hope. Read Transcript


I was out one day looking for some crack.

And I was out of money and this, that, and the other.

I was sitting in a Walmart parking lot.

I was in a tug-of-war.

One side of me was pulling one way,

wanting to just leave it alone.

One side was saying, no, you want this.

And I was sitting there.

I looked.

Across the road was a bank.

And I said, well, there's money right there in that bank.

I can go over there get it.

NARRATOR: A 10-year journey of addiction

had brought O'Shields to this moment.

I wanted my drugs, you know?

At this point, I was addicted so bad

that there was no stopping me.

NARRATOR: Bill was adopted by two loving Christian parents

who raised him in church.

But he could never overcome the feelings of rejection

he felt from his birth mother.

She was 16 at the time.

And my biological father, he was in a penitentiary

when I was born.

So I did always wonder, for some reason, why?

Why couldn't she just tough it out or find a way or something?

I'm her so.

So it was a hard pill to swallow, I guess.

It was always something nagging at me,

feeling kind of left out.

At school and stuff, I felt like a loner.

NARRATOR: Bill did find acceptance in one place.

I started hanging around with this guy that smoked marijuana.

And I felt accepted in this group.

NARRATOR: Along with smoking pot,

he started stealing and causing other problems.

In high school, Bill was arrested for possession.

Hoping to scare him straight, his parents

let him spend the night in jail, but it had the opposite effect.

It seemed like it took things to another level.

It did get me attention.

It seemed like people that was in my crowd

looked up to me more.

So it just kind of spurred me on to do even worse.

NARRATOR: For the next several years,

he served time in juvenile detention and eventually jail

for crimes, including breaking and entering,

burglary, and car theft.

Bill's drug use escalated to crystal meth and cocaine,

and more arrests followed.

The high was very short, so you had to just continuously chase

that high, which leads to expanses,

which leads to more stealing.

NARRATOR: Bill's parents convinced him to go into rehab.

But it did no good.

One day, after several years of addiction,

Bill was desperate to get cash for his next fix.

I'd heard about these note robberies, they call them,

where somebody writes a note and go in and demand money.

So it is easy enough.

I don't even need a gun.

NARRATOR: Bill pulled a baseball cap over his face,

entered the bank, and handed the teller a note demanding money.

I was worried about alarms or somebody,

a security guard acting funny or anything and what would I do.

I was such a nervous wreck, wanting the drugs.

The first stacks of money she laid on the counter,

I just grabbed and run with.

Come to find out, she was going to give me more,

but I wasn't hanging around to find out.

NARRATOR: Bill made a clean getaway, or so he thought.

A week later, the FBI showed up at his door.

I actually told the FBI agents when

I was arrested what a relief it was because I knew

I was going to get enough time to try to get

straightened out and get off drugs.

NARRATOR: But even in prison, the drugs were still available.

Bill was later caught planning an escape

and sent to a maximum security prison, where hardcore gang

members ruled the roost.

Bill feared for his life.

This evil here was on a different level.

And I knew I didn't want any part of this.

These guys would killed guys just because they got mad

about something small.

They just, what they call, "put him on the list."

And that meant they was to be hit.

NARRATOR: Alone in his cell, Bill

remembered his Sunday school days as a child.

It just come over me that the only way

was to call out to God.

That was it.

There was no other way at this point.

I'd done tried rehab, and I did prison time galore by now.

None of this was working.

And I finally just reached out to God and said, look,

I need help.

I need you to come into my life and save me.

I' just want whatever it takes to get straight

and put this behind me.

I'm willing to go through whatever.

I don't care what it is.

I feel like the Holy Spirit came into me.

I had chills when I was praying.

NARRATOR: Shortly after that, another inmate

asked Bill to go running with him.

He was a Christian who talked to Bill about Jesus

and became his friend and mentor.

I knew God was leading me in a different direction.

And I needed to follow this run to the best of my ability.

NARRATOR: God protected Bill for the remainder of his sentence.

He was released in 2014.

I haven't even had the desire to smoke a cigarette,

much less do drugs, anything.

And I know God is the one that's took that desire out of me.

He washed all that clean.

NARRATOR: Today, Bill is married and recently ran

in the Boston Marathon.

I've been in "Runner's World" magazine.

I've done a news special report before.

I wrote a book "Behind the Wall at the Boston Marathon"

because I make it clear as a bell in here

that God's the one that changed my life.

I know for a fact, Jesus died on the cross for our sins.

In my testimony I'm hoping deep down that it touches

somebody in a propound way.

I feel like no matter what you've

done, if you cry out to God and ask forgiveness,

anything can be washed away.

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