I was indicted, charged, and sentenced for first-degree murder because I was convicted under the Texas Law of Parties. The Law of Parties states that each party is responsible for the other person’s actions. I did not shoot the deceased. I did not possess a weapon at the scene of the crime, but I was present at the scene of the crime. Moreover, I was involved in the bad drug deal. I witnessed the shooting and fled the scene afterward. My codefendant shot and killed the deceased.
I am Lawrence Earl Hodges. I was born on July 3, 1969 in Palestine, Texas. The first three years of my life, I lived in my hometown, Palestine, Texas. In 1972, my parents migrated to Tyler, Texas, where I was raised and grew up. My parents had eight children, including me, in our household.


We finally arrived at the Beto I Unit, I was nervous, anxious, and worried, trying to prepare myself mentally and physically for the tests that awaited me at my new unit. After arriving to the unit, prisoners on the bus caused an uproar of excitement. It was like they were happy to return to the prison lifestyle. Now, I was a first-time offender, and I was sad and ashamed to be there in prison. Yet here people felt good about being a returning prisoner for breaking the law again. Something had to be wrong with these people’s minds. I wondered how one could be happy to return to a prison lifestyle. I could not find a reasonable answer to that question. Some of these prisoners had been locked up two, three, four, and even five times. I knew I never wanted to be a repeat offender in TDC.


In October 2006, I was eligible for my first parole. I was nervous because I had a bad disciplinary record in prison. I didn’t think my chances for parole were good enough to be granted parole in the past. One day, I was sent a lay-in for my first parole interview. I got the lay-in and I prayed over it and asked Jesus Christ to grant me parole. I was already a Christian by this time, so I knew God was with me, and I had already witnessed the Lord Jesus Christ answering multiple prayer requests. I knew and believed God could grant me parole if He wanted to do so.
I went to my parole interview. The parole counselor called me into her office and asked me to take a seat. I did so and waited patiently for her to interview me. The parole counselor started reviewing my file and said she saw that I had many cases for bad conduct.