‘It cost me 22 years’: Former inmate mentors at-risk kids, veterans

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — After more than two decades in prison, an Indianapolis man is using his second chance to mentor kids and veterans.

Nine months free from incarceration, Marlon Kimbrough is starting life again.

“When you come up from the water, you can breathe, you can see, you can hear clearly. That’s how it was, being released from prison, for me. I can see, I can smell, and I can breathe,” Kimbrough said.

Kimbrough now works as a personal trainer at the Strength Factory and also helps with veterans struggling with drug and alcohol addiction at Educational Destination. He said he knows what it’s like to hit rock-bottom as life wasn’t always easy.

“As a teenager, you think you know it all, so I fell into the wrong crowd and went against all the positive that was in my life and just took a journey down the wrong road, and it cost me,” said Kimbrough. “It cost me a lot. It cost me 22 years.”

Kimbrough was convicted in the 1998 murder of Antonio Harrison. The victim’s family has said they believe Kimbrough was innocent and was and have no resentment toward him.

“Sitting in that trial with this one person, it was just messed up,” the victim’s mother said. “He was guilty by association, that was it. Everybody else walked away clean, free and clear.”

Kimbrough said doing time behind bars doesn’t have to define you. He’s now a full-time student at Ivy Tech Community College, studying to become a child case manager.

“I want to keep digging for those who are lost. I want to keep digging for those who need a path, I want to keep digging for those who yearn for a different future for themselves,” Kimbrough said.

Kimbrough continues to speak with kids in high-crime communities and hopes they can learn to make the right decisions.

“After all this time, all the harsh I’ve been through, you can still be great, you can still be successful, regardless of where you come from and how you were raised and who wasn’t or was in your life. You have to be determined and once you figure that out, you can be successful,” Kimbrough said.

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