I was 26 years old, a man with no fear and nothing to lose. I was being transported by a private transport company from California to Wisconsin for 1st degree murder. The Transport cops were from Mississippi and were not ready for this crazy ass California white man with nothing to lose.
I sat in the back of the van for 5 days, hands cuffed in front and I also had leg irons. The two cops would drive day and night, one would sleep while the other one would drive.
After a few days in the transport van, I learned the patterns of the two transport cops. One cop had a 40 cc and the other was unarmed. So I played it cool and acted like nothing was wrong and just did what I had to do to fit in, so that the cops were not worried about me. The big fat cop, when he came to pick me up at the county jail, was warned by the cops not to trust me. But he thought having a gun on him meant he was safe.
At night, I was able to pull the cuffs off and dig around in the back of the van where they put the other prisoners’ property. I found a cell phone and made calls at night when they couldn’t see me talking in the back of the van. I also came across a tier plug. If you know what a tier plug is then you know it’s just like an ice pick but thicker metal and stronger.
From that point on, I made the plan to escape — no matter what. I didn’t care if I died in the process. I had one other prisoner in the van that said he was down to roll with me. He was facing 40 years in the state of Mississippi. So we talked and planned it all out. And on the 5th night in Arkansas I told the transport cop that I was sick and he had to pull over at the next truck stop so I could use the restroom. The time was 2:30am and the other transport cop was asleep. The transport cop pulled into the truck stop in Arkansas and I slide the tire plug into my jump suit.
And just like I hoped, only the fat transport cop took all 5 prisoners into the restroom.
The transport cop took off my cuffs but I still had my leg irons on so I went into the stall and acted like I was sick. I put the tire plug in the upper part of my jump suit and walked out of the stall and walked to the sink and washed my hands and then walked to the transport cop. When the transport cop reached to recuff me I started to beat him with my fist. And the other prisoner who said he was down was just watching me fight the cop.
After a second, I dropped the transport cop and got on top of him and began to stab him in the neck and head. The transport cop went for his gun so I stabbed him in his hand. He let go of the gun and I grabbed the 40cc and racked one into the chamber and pointed the gun at the bloody transport cop laying on the floor in the truck stop restroom.
Now, at this time, there is some trucker in the last stall taking a shit. So I get the cuff keys from the bloody transport cop and take off my leg irons and walk down and kick in the stall door at gun point and get the trucker to come out. Then I make the other prisoners put the leg irons and cuffs on the transport cop. (I didn’t know it at the time but the prisoner that said he was down was running out to the transport van to get the attention of the other unarmed transport cop. He had no luck so I didn’t notice that, which was lucky for him.)
I ordered everybody to wait in the restroom and I walked out to the transport van and opened the driver side door and pistol whipped the unarmed transport cop in the head. He came to and tried to fight me and then I just pointed the gun at him and he just ran like a fool for his life. I opened fire on him. Lucky for him, I’m not a good shot. He got away with his life. I jumped back in the van and burned rubber out of there.
I jumped on the interstate and headed east for about 5 miles. I took an off ramp and drove around a suburb and found a path off the road into a wooded area. I dumped the van and walked the area on foot looking for a house to bust into. I found a foreclosed home and kicked in the back door. I went throughout the whole house looking for clothing to change into.
I was looking for clothing to change into and I came across some army clothing and I put it all on and left the house on foot. I started walking west next to 40 highway. I came across a construction site and talked to a supervisor and he gave me a ride about 30 miles west into Oklahoma. I went into a gas station and could hear the radio talking about me. Talk about freaking out. Then I saw my face on all the newspapers. I got a soda with some of the money I took from the inmates’ property in the back of the van and I left the gas station to hide out and think about my next move.
I could have car jacked anybody because I had the hand gun but I didn’t want to hurt nobody. So after some hours went by, I found a trucker that said he was headed west. So I got in the rig and for some reason he went to Walmart parking lot so he could get WiFi he said. I had no idea at that time he knew who I was, because at the gas station, the clerk pointed at the newspaper and the trucker had seen it was me.
So after a few minutes on his computer, he jumped back on the highway and not more then 10 minutes later, I noticed all kinds of red lights coming up behind us and also cutting across the highway, with more cop cars and helicopters. At that time I knew it was for me. They had the whole fucking army coming and that’s no joke. Right then the trucker locked up his breaks on the highway and we slide to a stop with smoke in the air from the tires.
I reached back for my bag for my gun and was going to kill myself before they could take me in. But the trucker knew my gun was in the bag and grabbed the bag and throws it out the driver’s side window along with the keys to the truck. He then jumps out with his hands up.
I stayed in the truck and was going to make them kill me. Few minutes went by and the cops came from every angle, strapped and ready to kill my ass. They had a hundred guns pointed at me and yelled at me to get out of the truck. I was not moving for nothing. I was hoping they would open fire on me and end it there. But they didn’t, and they opened the door and pulled me out the truck and beat the crap out of me like no other.
They were calling me a cop killer and just putting the boots to me. After that, on the way to the county jail, I see what must of been 100 reporters and when they walked me in, I felt like something out of the movies. It was crazy all the media.
Now comes the question about the van and how I did it and so on. They had the FBI, DEA and local detectives in the room along with the sheriff of that county. They gave me a smoke in hopes I would open up to them. But I had nothing to say. The sheriff tried talking to me about waving my extradition hearing because of all the media problems they were having. I waved my extradition hearing and around 3:00am they got me up from my cell and the FBI and the sheriff was there along with detectives as they put me in cuffs and leg irons and they also hobbed me. That’s when they run a chain from your hand cuffs to your leg irons. It stops you from being able to move fast or run. I was put in an unmarked black SUV. They drove non-stop north and after about three hours, they pulled into a police station.
I was put in a cage and three armed cops with assault weapons stood by watching me. Soon after that, a white van shows up with three cops in it, two detectives and the Chief of the police. I was then transferred to them and put in a straightjacket with an electric belt put on me and driven the rest of the way to Wisconsin, non-stop. They didn’t say much to me and did I want to talk to them anyways.
When I got to the county jail in Waukesha, Wisconsin, I had a good 25 cops waiting to book me into the jail. I was booked and taken to a special unit all by myself — for the next 2 years.
Justin adds this below, in a separate, personal letter to us that he has given permission for us to publish:
I’m changing and making better choices now. I can’t fix my past but I can change who I will be. I must change so my kids and grandkids will have something to do with me.
I have 44 years to life in Wisconsin DOC. Arkansas agreed to not charge me if I got sentenced to anything over 30 years to life Wisconsin. And I did just that in Wisconsin. California has 25 to life on me but I’m sure the statute of limitations has ran out there time limits by now so I will not see that also. So I have got lucky one could say. Three states with life penalties for me and I have gotten it down to just Wisconsin with 44 to life. If laws don’t change like the mandatory minimums, I will most likely die in prison. But as crazy as I sound, I did it all to myself so if I do end up dying in prison it’s all my doing. I killed people for nothing more than money and now that I’m older I see why that is so sick.
I understand the system now. In California my oldest daughter was at home and some piece of shit ran into her house with a 9 mm and she fought him and he shot my daughter in the chest one inch from her heart. She lived and I’m truly thankful for that but I wish I could be in California prison system right now. I would love to run into that piece of shit that shot my daughter. She was only 17 years old and almost died. I feel so bad and know if I was at home I could of stopped it or something.
So what I’m getting at is I don’t feel for none of these sick ass pieces of crap in here, if they did the crime they can do the time just like me. Prison is a place for people like me and you will never hear me crying over being in here. Yes prison sucks and I wish it was better but it is what it is. I should of never took anybody’s life…..
Not only did it cut me deep, I don’t think I will ever be able to understand what could make me do all the shit I did when I was younger. I’m mentally fucked up over my actions. The lady I killed in Wisconsin was a good hard working mother. Her name was Kim Smith and she worked for the county in Waukesha, Wisconsin. It’s been over ten years and I still feel like a piece of shit. I feel so bad for her son Jackson. He was 3 years old at the time, the same age as my younger daughter Celeste. So now he lost his mother because I killed her. The whole Smith family lost a good kind mother, daughter, sister and more, because I wasn’t thinking clearly. Man it’s so sad and I don’t care who reads this, I feel so bad for doing that.
You see on TV and in movies about Hitmen. Well that’s one thing. It’s just fucking TV and any real man would feel the same as I do. But we put on this tough guy role in here. But trust me if I could take it back I would…. Not because I got caught just because killing Kim Smith was not right. She should be with her son right now and I should be with my daughters.
I can’t fix the past and it’s hard for me to understand how I should live with this. You can’t forget, you can’t move on, you can only live in the past forever if you ever do evil shit like I did. Prison is nothing compared to the past I have to deal with in my mind. Some guys in here might not care what they have done to others, but I do, and I just want to somehow make things a little better for others in their lives.
I’m not that person any longer, nor do I want to be. I just want to be a peaceful man and try to make my kids understand that I’m not the monster the media made me out to be. I have a grandson now and I have not seen him and nor do I think my daughter is going to let me. I know she is hurt by my actions and I can’t fix it. I can only do the right things from here on out.
I’m not a Hitman or a cop killer or anything. Just a sad man wishing things could be different for everybody. Just older now, wishing to do better for my kids.
Justin Welch 579750
P.O. Box 950
Portage, WI 53901-0950