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Freedom for Richie!
$540 raised
2% of $30k goal
15 contributors
54 Weeks running

         Hello my name is Shantae Riley and my family and I are reaching out for your help. My brother Richie needs a lawyer to fight appeals at the federal level, but first a little background is necessary to understand how we got to this point.

          Growing up our childhood was chaotic. My father has been a drug addict and drug dealer for as long as I can remember. My mother always had a good job and usually worked 50-60 hours a week to support our family. My dad tried to shelter my sisters and I from his drug world but my brothers were not so lucky. By the time Richie was in junior high he was coerced into dealing drugs for my dad. In hopes to please my father he did what he was told but for obvious reasons this had a traumatic effect on him. Whenever he refused to deal for my father it resulted in a huge fight. My mother and I never knew the full truth until recent years. These all out fights between my father and brother often resulted in my father kicking Richie out of the house and him left to fend for himself. Richie started using drugs and drinking at an early age in order cope with the brokenness within. My father abused his relationship to a son who wanted nothing but acceptance from his dad. I am not sure why my father chose to love my sisters and I so much more than he chose to love my brothers but it may always break my heart.

          About 12 years ago my father's drug use was spiraling out of control. Richie was 24 at the time and getting sick of my father's negative influence over him and decided to get clean. After four months of sobriety, he switched his focus to help my dad. My  father had been using heroine for about 30 years and Richie convinced him to go to rehab. After a week my father was out and within a two-week period he was back on drugs. Except this time it was a combination of meth and alcohol. He dove into this and it completely altered everyone in my family's life. My mother and sisters stayed with me as often as they could; being home just was not safe. By the end of that year my brother had tried to move home to help my father. My dad was too far-gone. It was in December of 2006 that our lives and several other lives were forever altered.

          In December of 2006 my father shot two people, killing one of them but it was my brother who was wrongfully convicted for the crime. My father never came forward and now my brother is spending a life sentence without a chance of parole. Five years ago my father was convicted and sentenced for the same crime(only a few states allow two people be tried and convicted for the same crime). It was a relief that justice came down on him; but my brother is still stuck in his cell.

          He is constantly fighting the courts with his appeals which is emotionally, physically and financially draining. This tragedy destroyed so many lives; the victims who were shot and their families will forever remember this horrific event. It breaks my heart to know that they see my brother as the evil person who ruined their families. My family has suffered greatly from these events. Prison visits are a monthly duty and my father and I do not have a relationship at all. It is a difficult struggle to go through life with only half of your family, knowing that it doesn't have to be that way. Deep down I wish my father would have just come forward and owned his responsibility in all this, but it is 12 years later and that has not happened. My brother has filed for all his appeals that the state is legally liable to pay for. Unfortunately, in the appeals process nothing can usually be overturned until the appeals hit the federal level. We are in the thick of those deadlines and at the federal level my brother is responsible financially for his own lawyer. So far, we have done 2-3 motions on our own and because we don’t really know what were doing we have been denied one appeal simply because we submitted incomplete paperwork. A federal Habeas Lawyer costs about $30,000 and it usually takes $10,000 down to get them to just look at the case.

         We are asking for everyone we know to donate just $20. If everyone I know donates just $20 that would put us at $17,000! And if everyone I know got one friend to donate $20 we would be above our goal of $30,000! Please help us. I am pleading for your generosity. I am asking for you to donate and to spread the word to others. If you can sacrifice just $20 you can give another young man a chance at freedom. Please think about and pray about it. Anything you can give will help. The only thing standing between Richie's opportunity at a real life is $30,000.

We hope and pray our brother will ride free once again.

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