In 1977, Gene McGuire’s life as a free man ended.
He was one of three men involved in the late-night robbery of a bar. One of the men stabbed and killed the bar owner, and Gene was sentenced to life in prison without parole on a second-degree murder charge. He was 17 years old. Nearly 10 years later, after achieving influence in the prison culture of drugs, power, money, pornography and disdain for authority, Gene humbled himself and experienced a Christ-transformation.
After submitting to years of discipleship, Gene became a spiritual leader to thousands of inmates. With no hope for release himself, Gene instead developed a fruitful, fulfilling ministry within his world of incarceration. He became an elder in the prison church, developed small groups and yard Bible studies and led others who were also without freedom to true freedom in Christ.
Then, almost 35 years into his prison sentence, came an unexpected miracle. On April 3, 2012, Presiding Judge Russell D. Shurtleff addressed the crowded Wyoming County Courtroom in Pennsylvania. He ruled that Gene had been wrongfully charged, that his life sentence was reversed and that he had already served the appropriate sentence due. Gene was released a free man — no parole.
His story is riveting — from a life sentence of imprisonment to one filled with the power of God’s love, forgiveness and freedom, bringing hope to all.