We spoke with Steve’s sister in Michigan who is spearheading the parole effort. She informed us the Florida Parole Board found some sort of decree from long ago that Steve could never be paroled! Her research reveals this is not allowed in his case.
But ‘no parole ever’ makes little sense since we petitioned and met with thew Board 5 years ago..with them suggesting we make another attempt in 5 more years, which is now.
So…Steve’s sister will now attempt to find an attorney to make a formal appeal to the Board.
Please pray for this dear man…his sister…and the Board. That they will see fit to release him very very soon. His sister mentioned that the Board is now seeing cases every 7 years, vs 5 years.
We pray diligently that Steve has not missed his window here…and have to wait another 7 years. Oh Lord. Help please. Thanks to all those pray and gave donations.
I really need your help…and prayers.
He’s now up for his 2nd parole hearing in a few days. I’ve left time slip away from me with all the other demands, and I’m late writing. I’m now appealing to you all in these next few days for your prayers of deliverance for him from the prison system.
We also are requesting much needed financial help for me to make the trip to the parole commission in the Florida panhandle.
He’s been incarcerated for almost 30 years.
Yes, that’s right: 30 years. And he’s only 50 years old. He was convicted of first degree murder and went in for a life sentence at the tender age of 20.
The first time I met him was 2003. He had already been in 17 years. That’s right, 17 years. The place was Tomoka Correctional Institution in Daytona Beach Florida, a state of Florida medium security prison facility.
The meeting was the very beginning of a mid-week Walk Worthy discipleship group. The first men who showed up that afternoon at the Chaplain’s open invitation were a little shy.
They didn’t know quite what to make of a group that let them fully participate in a real church discipleship meeting. They didn’t know how. They never before had been invited to such a group.
Over the next few months, I learned about Steve’s story as we talked openly in the meeting and as I walked he and a couple others back to their buildings. We were always under the watchful eye of the high powered rifles wielded by the guards in the prison towers.
At age 19, he was part of a successful plot to murder a young man who had double crossed them in a drug deal. Steve came from a relatively functional family with many members having their own business. It didn’t matter. He was unsaved and unloved.
The state locked him up and threw away the key. But the Holy Spirit had other plans!
After his conversion, Steve over the years diligently pursued the Lord Jesus through numerous faith based programs and groups. He was always there. He also enrolled in many programs to deal with his personal issues. To say the least, he became a productive member of the prison system.
Steve has been a faithful worker and evangelist for Christ in the hell hole of prison. You and I have no clue as to the pressures and temptations in that environment. In the midst of rampant homosexual advances, drugs, taunting, bad doctrine, loneliness, he has been an overcomer. I greatly admire him. He made a jail break many years ago and was returned in a few days, being repentant for that momentary lapse.
He’s now one of my dearest friends in the Lord. I have dozens of letters and cards from him over the years as we’ve corresponded fairly often back and forth. When a letter arrives, I wonder what he might say about his walk, the Lord, and the new thing God is teaching him. He lifts my spirit…
I’m asked if there’s danger in the prison system. Of course. But God is our protector as we all know. A few years ago at Tomoka, a woman guard named Donna Fitzgerald I saw often was brutally murdered by an inmate serving two life sentences, being stabbed 25 times as she came looking for him unarmed.
Steve’s been transferred several times to other facilities over the last 10 years since we first met at Tomoka. He’s now in a Miami facility which is adjacent to the Lifer’s Program, a half-way facility which prepares long-time inmates for reentry into society.
We’re full of hope that this is Steve’s time.
Steve’s sister has prepared an excellent Parole Presentation Package, and called me to arrive a day early to meet with her and one of the Parole Commissioners in a special meeting to plead his case and the planned re-entry.
Five years ago, Steve and his family made the 25 year parole request and I was there in the Parole Commission hearing room with a dozen family members and my dear brother Asheville, NC Jail Chaplain John Casto of Full Pardon Ministries.
As Chaplain John had his turn to offer his support of Steve’s initial request, he finished by stating emphatically but humbly, “Commissioners, if any man has been corrected by the Florida prison system, that man is Steve Wonder.”
They were sympathetic but stated Steve come back in 5 more years at his 30th year anniversary. I was stunned and cried a lot of the way home over that 6 hour drive back to Orlando.
Five more years. 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5. Years…what were you doing 5 years ago? It’s a long time. 30 years ago I had just moved to Florida and was a lost pagan. 30 years in a prison. I can’t imagine.
Will you help us here? I only have a few days left. I’m so late here with this appeal. Sorry.
Pray diligently for the Spirit to open the prison doors for Steve, that the hearts of the Commissioners will be tenderized in mercy, and that the evil one will be kept completely at bay in all this.
I need funds for gas, tolls, lodging 2 nights, food, misc…it’s a 6 hour trip each way, and need to take a few days off from work.
$375 – Any amount will help. = FUNDED! will reserve some funds for the trip when ready.
Thanks dear saints!
Problem: Steve has an open door to request his parole after 30 years.
Solution: Steve needs several non-family members of faith based organizations to vouch for him.
Amount Raised – thanks so much!: $25
Still Needed: $350
The Lord bless you all! I’m so grateful we can make a difference together in the changed lives of others. Amazing grace.
Walk Worthy is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization. All funds are tax deductible and a receipt will be grateful sent to your email!