Antwane Hunter joined Justice 360 this week for an event to educate the public on juveniles facing lengthy prison sentences in South Carolina. He shared his unique perspective of having served over 20 years in prison for a crime committed when he was just 14 years old.
In 1993, Antwane, and two older co-defendants, were charged with armed robbery and murder when Antwane was 14. He pled guilty and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years. Like other juveniles in South Carolina, Antwane remained at the county jail until he turned 17 years old. Shortly after his 17th birthday, he was transferred to adult prison and housed as an adult in the Department of Corrections.
Despite his long sentence, Antwane remained hopeful that he would one day be released and was motivated to learn as much as he could to prepare for his release. Antwane obtained his GED soon after arriving in adult prison and took additional computer and college classes. He later became a tutor and helped others learn while incarcerated.
Antwane credits his supportive family with helping him remain positive. Growing into an adult while incarcerated, Antwane reflected on his life and crime and came to understand of the depth of the harm he and his co-defendants inflicted by taking a life. He committed to avoiding similar situations after his release and to earning a living in a law abiding and moral way.
In 2014, Antwane was granted parole and moved to Charlotte where his sister lives. He has struggled to obtain a permanent job because of his record, but he does not give up and keeps looking for jobs. He has mainly worked temporary jobs to support his family – Antwane and his fiancée have twin fifteen month old daughters. Despite the struggle, Antwane has complied with the requirements of his parole and stayed out of trouble. He is committed to being with his family and avoiding reincarceration.
Antwane, now 38 years old, is a mature adult who accepts responsibility for his crime and for making his way in the world after more than 20 years in prison. His story is an example of how children can make incredible and tragic mistakes, but deserve a second chance to be a part of society as adults.