C-S.T.A.N.D. program gives 7 people the chance to turn their liv - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

C-S.T.A.N.D. program gives 7 people the chance to turn their lives around

"There's a man in this room that sentenced me to death row. Do you know what that means? I could have been executed," Lee Bellamy revealed. "There's a man in this room that sentenced me to death row. Do you know what that means? I could have been executed," Lee Bellamy revealed.
"Let me tell you something, there are very few people, that get the opportunity to literally find themselves in a 'Y' in the road. And to be told, and be told it's a 'Y' in the road," U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said to the group. "Let me tell you something, there are very few people, that get the opportunity to literally find themselves in a 'Y' in the road. And to be told, and be told it's a 'Y' in the road," U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said to the group.
CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Federal and local officials urged seven individuals to take an opportunity to change for the better and accept the help of their own community, or they will go to jail. 

As part of the next step of Conway's New Direction program, an entire community will stand behind seven people if those people choose to make the right decisions. During what police named a "call-in" meeting, all seven of the people police say could turn their lives around showed up, but that's only half of the battle. Four of those men were indicted earlier this year by a federal grand jury on cocaine and crack cocaine conspiracy charges.

United States Attorney, Bill Nettles, made it clear this was no laughing matter.

"Let me tell you something, there are very few people, that get the opportunity to literally find themselves in a 'Y' in the road. And to be told, and be told it's a 'Y' in the road," Nettles said to the group.

Someone who was not expected to speak, Lee Bellamy, had his own words for the seven people chosen for this program.

Bellamy spent 23 years behind bars, yearning for the same opportunity.

"Not to get freedom, but just to get an opportunity. That was my dream," Bellamy explained. Aside from decades in prison, Bellamy faced the most severe punishment.

"There's a man in this room that sentenced me to death row. Do you know what that means? I could have been executed," Bellamy revealed.

That man, Morgan Martin, a criminal defense lawyer, also spoke to the seven individuals.

"You can't win. it's a game you cannot win," Martin added. 

Martin explained how a criminal history can follow a person forever, and if they find themselves "needing a lawyer" they've already lost. 

Some of the individuals chose to keep their heads down while each speaker was talking.

However, Bellamy is confident they were listening.

"What those individuals simply was telling me is that my trust don't come easy, but I do want to change. Just his appearance here today, tells me that they want to change," Bellamy explained. He knows it took a lot for them to show up, but this opportunity is rare.

"This is abnormal, this is your mother's prayer," Bellamy said. 

To see some of the mothers tearing up behind the seven people struck a cord with Bellamy.

"I saw with my own eyes, the pain of my mother, I saw with my own eyes the scare of my mother's heart that I left there," Bellamy said. 

Bellamy then told the group, his mother passed away just as he was about to get the opportunity to change his life for the better, and his mother was the one who was always there for him when he was behind bars, and the one who was hurt most by it.

Bellamy urged the seven not to take this opportunity for granted.

The next step of the C-S.T.A.N.D. program has the commitment from several community groups, including Good Will Services and The Horry Georgetown Technical College. 

Those who choose to commit to the program will be offered jobs and education as they work to get their lives on the right track. 

The group will have a meeting Monday at Father's Place on Highway 378.

Those who don't show up, will face the cases police say they already have against them, and could be placed under arrest. 

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