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March 06, 2009


lorri esquivel

Wow. What an amazing story. It is incomprehensible to me how you could have stayed so positive and kept your spirits up during all those years of undeserved hell you served. I don't think I could have done it. You are a remarkable human being, like so many others who suffer through injustice with grace and dignity, borne of a God-given spirit so strong that it defies logic. That is what HOPE is all about. If you rob someone of hope, you rob them of a reason to live. Each one of us has a purpose in life, and you articulate beautifully the truth that we must carry on and live out that purpose, even if it ends up being behind bars. Your story is a powerful motivator to "never give up." I was so relieved to find in the end that you were vindicated, and the truth did set you free.

And for whatever reason, it was all in God's time ... God's timing is perfect, despite what our human minds think. And during that time, He allowed you to feel the pain, agony, loneliness and despair that our Savior felt when he bore the burden of our sin and paid the price for us as an innocent man.

Not one of our tears is lost on God ... He knew that you were the strong, obedient person He could use for His glory, to bring hope to the hopeless, to be a voice for the down-trodden, the poor, the innocent, the weak and the oppressed. You were allowed a glimpse into the life of a "forgotten" and "foresaken" segment of society, so that you could in turn use that knowledge to encourage, empower and educate others. Thank you for being a vessel of God's love. Because God truly does love each and every one of us ... we are all important and useful ... And we all deserve hope and a chance to redeem ourselves. God always loves, forgives, saves, delivers and heals ALL, without prejudice and without walls ...

And thank God those attorneys gave of themselves to help you, and never gave up. May God bless every single one of them who fought the good fight and refused to give up, as well as all those who knew of your plight and fought for you and spoke up for you. Your friends, family and supportors are all remarkable.


I saw your story in cable and was very touched by it. It is amazing how you were able to keep a positive outlook, while facing such adversity. My son went through a similar situation, although not as extreme as your case. When he was 14 years old he was arrested and charged with robbery in the state of Florida. He was only there on vacation; we live in a rural part of NYS(5 hours outside of the city). The state attorney was seeking adult sanctions against him. I however was lucky to have hired a capable attorney and after a year of flying between NY and Florida for his case it was ultimately dismissed. I am still a little upset 5 years later because of what the state attorney said when she dismissed the charges against my son. She said, "although there was probable cause for an arrest and indictment, there does not appear there is enough evidence to seek a conviction." What the hell was she talking about? I am just glad that my husband and I both as NYS officers had the means and the know how to ensure that our son did not become another statistic.

Kevin & Lisa Konecky

My husband and I just finished watching your story on tv. We are inspired and see that you are a special person with gifts from God that you are using! Congratulations for going to college. You have so much to give to our nation that badly needs it's criminal justice system overhauled. I work for a first time offender prevention program called youth court that tries to educate teens about the law before they get on the wrong side of it. I used to work at the biggest youth facility in Alaska with teens locked up for at least a year. One thing that has always bothered me was waiving kids to adult status for any crime. No matter what anyone says kids do not belong in adult jails for any reason. I have a special love for working with teens. Maybe you will also choose that or another great career. My husband is curious after seeing the picture of Sitting Bull next to you in your cell while you were writing. He would like to know why you have the picture as he likes the history of Chief Joseph. (I will fight no more forever).
Kevin & Lisa

A. Garcia

Congratulation Carnal...
God bless


I saw your documentary a little over a year ago and I've been following your blog ever since, waiting for an update. I appreciate the back story, most of which we learned in the documentary. I think I speak for a number of people who would like to hear about how you are doing now. How are you feeling? What are you doing with your life? How has the adjustment to freedom been? Etc etc...

Rene & Ana Mcpherson

My husband and I just finished watching your documentary on cable. It really touched us deeply. You are a brave soul, God had been on your side through your whole ordeal. Actually your whole family are very strong in faith and never gave up. My husband has two close family members in prison. They are guilty of their charges and we have all accepted that. My husband is one of a few family members who writes to them and continues to this day. After seeing your story, he will even try to write more. My husband feels that no matter what family is family and you always should love your family no matter what they do. We are very happy to see that you are free and taking life not forgranted by going to college. We hope to see that you will write a book on this whole experience and we will definitely buy it or anything else you write. My husband is from E. LA and he feels that he is blessed to have gotten out of there without any kind of experience that you went through (being at the wrong place at the wrong time). God bless you and your entire familia.

The Jeffersons

My family and I just watched your documentary and we were deeply touched! You have faith that most of us long for and may never see. You stood strong knowing your freedom was at stake and you were wrongfully accused. God has blessed you and we pray you pass your blessings on to others who have no voice, no support, no family as you did to stand by them. May God bless you always enjoy your freedom, your life, and your family. Much love always!

Martha Hisington

God bless you, Mario. God bless your family and the lawyers who fought for you.
Keep us all posted, as millions of people who've never met you are inspired and interested in you.

A. Moreno

I just finished watching your story on HBO today. I wish you great success and I hope you will continue developing as a writer. Please continue working with our youth, inspire them with your story, and given them that sincerity you pocess.

M. Surratte

I just watched your story this morning and was truly inspired. Despite the adversities, your faith, courage and strength through the Grace of God prevailed. He is using you as a vehicle for greatness! Your trials and triumphs not only encourage our youth, but all of us..while bringing to light the flaws in our criminal justice system. Thank you for sharing your story, for your strength and for never giving up.
Praying for continued significance, success and Gods’ favor!

Your story inspires us all.

God Bless,

Lani Duran

I just watched Mario's Story on Showtime. I couldn't stop watching it. I cried for you and your family. I am just so overjoyed to see that you have been set free. You are someone special in this world. With your situation and your words. God bless you and your family.


Your story is sure to touch many,as it should. There are far too many people with cases in which justice did not prevail. I hope your story opens alot of peoples eyes and minds that normally wouldnt care about courts, jails, inmates etc. not to mention injustice. Do i have a story? Of course but im sure you have been bombarded and this is not the place to air it. I just want to thank you and your family for letting all of us in your life. You are touched by God and are special. Keep up your good works and stay strong. God bless!

Ana Landero

I woke up today wanting to watch TV and when I turned on the TV, there it was your story, I was hooked to the TV for 3 hours crying and feeling the pain your family and you went through. I am of Hispanic decent so I know how tight we are and how much we love our people, I can not believe that you wasted years of your life because of a faulty system and a poor lawyer (I hope he is not practicing) but like you said, this experience made you and because of it, you are who you are today.

I thank you for sharing this wonderful happy ending story and for showing the rest of the world "Que si se puede"


All I can say is that I'm happy for you Mario, you deserve your freedom. I wish you the best in life, please write some books in Spanish so I can send one to my boyfriend in prison.


I watch the documentary of your strugle with the justice system and i must say that it bought me to tears a number of times. God bless your madre for all her strong faith. I wish you and your loves ones all the best rememnber as long as you keep Dios in your heart all things are possible fell free to contact me if ever you and yours are ever in this parts of the states sincerly Laura palmer

Jessica Galban

All i can say is that im happy for you i just finished watching marios story i even recorded it on cable so my husband can see it too im just happy for you you deserve your freedom and also i thank god that he looked over you.

Mary Mann

Dear Mario:

I just saw your story and am blown away by your spirit, your love for life, and just the overwhelming capacity of your beautiful heart. God bless you and keep you safe.

Mary Mann

April Bennett

Dear Mario:

I just watched your story on television and I can't seem to stop crying. I was so moved that I couldn't help but do an internet search on your story.

I can't say anything that you haven't already heard a million times but I need to say it anyway. You have unbelievable resolve. I am so touched by your spirit. I hope with all my heart that you truly find peace, happiness and continued success in your life. I know that God will continue to guide you and that you will continue to touch the world with your gifts.

Much Love

April Bennett
New York

Misanthropy Today

hey mario-

Saw your documentary on showtime earlier. I'm not sure that Tookie is the model of redemption or anyone that you'd want to associate yourself with.

Tookie died at the hands of the state in a far more gentle way than he "took" (hence the nickname) so many others.

Leave your jailhouse bravado and allegiances back in jail.

If you're an innocent man you'd want your name nowhere near the name of a rightly convicted murderer.

Debi Alexander

I just finished watching your story. As a school teacher, I sometimes wonder at the part we all play in children's lives ending up off track and even tragic like yours did though you were innocently convicted. I heard on the news yesterday that 1 out of 31 adults in our country are somewhere in the judicial corrections system. I wonder if you would be interested in joining together to co author a book about the part schools play in the lives of those convicted? I believe educational reform is necessary and that many students are "victims" also of a broken educational system. If you are interested email me at alexanderdebi@yahoo.com.


What a great story. With your will and determination, you will be an inspiration to all that are/were in your position. Keep doing what your doing Mario! God bless you and your family!

Mauricio Imana

I just saw the documentary about your story. You have won a horrific war that has marked your life. I have also read some of your writing. I see a human being with great determination and strength. We are all glad to see you conquer your dreams and to be an example of hope and change for so many. Please keep on growing for we need leaders like you. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. May God bless you brother. –Mauricio Imana

Sherri Drew

Mario...just watched your documentary and like April before me, I can't say anything that you haven't already heard a million times. I pray that God continues to give you the strenth, courage, faithfulness and obedience you showed and continue to show the world. I want to comment to Debi Alexander's comment above regarding joining her to co author a book about the part schools play in the lives of those convicted. Her belief that educational reform is necessary and that many students are "victims" also of a broken educational system mirrors my view exactly. As a teacher, I would love to be a part of this reform. May God continue to bless you and keep the faith!

Michele Yordon

Mario,this is an incredible story that everyone should view! The injustice that occured is almost unbelievable. Being falsely accused by one person seems weak when there were so many other people at the party. The defense attorney who represented you should have been disbarred! How could he sleep at at night knowing he was so inept? Mario you are an amazing human being who possesses such a faith in God & the people who fought for you. Although you endured this nightmare, you emerged stronger & with a confidence no can ever take away! When I watched your story, I felt as though I was part of your family; it was heart wrenching. My son is attending college and has decided to persue law. It's his desire to become a defense attorney. Alex & I watched your story for the second time this weekend; Alex watched it with me. I wanted him to see the signifcance of how paramount it is to be good attorney. He couldn't believe his eyes. He was falsely accused of burglary by someone. He was arrested based on the word of one person. We now realize this happens more often than people realize. You are an amazing young man with so much to offer this flawed world. You've been an inspiration to me and to my son.I'm so happy you are free now and hope you continue to persue your dreams and keep writing. I'll pray for your continued success and hope you are emotionally healed. Michele Yordon

Andrea Garcia

I was just glued to the TV when I saw your story. There have been cases like yours out there and I am glad your story was documented for those who might be in the same position as you were in. You're so positive. Your smile, contagious. I wish you all the best and grateful that you are able to have such a great perspective on life despite what you have been through. I'm rooting for you to exceed any limits.
All the best to you and your family,
Andrea Garcia

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