Ronald J. Evans
Sentence: Life in prison
Offense: Conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, and cocaine base
Priors: No adult prior convictions. Juvenile convictions for breaking and entering (at age 14, he climbed into the window of an elementary school and set off the alarm), possession with intent to distribute cocaine (at age 16, he sold an undercover officer $20 of cocaine), and obstruction of justice (at age 17, he advised someone buying drugs that the seller was a police officer.)
Year sentenced: 1993
Age at sentencing: 19
Projected release date: None.
Ronald Evans was raised by a single mother in a public housing project. He had difficulty in school and suffered from several learning disabilities. Ronald’s behavioral problems began when he was 15 years old when he started getting into fights at school and associating with drug dealers in his neighborhood.
By the late 1980s, the New York-based drug organization of William Hazel and Earl Williams had grown, extending into Ronald’s hometown of Norfolk, Virginia. Ronald joined the conspiracy in January of 1990, shortly after his sixteenth birthday. He began working as a “lookout” after school, making $50 a day. Later, he sold heroin and eventually advanced to packaging and transporting drugs. He also acted as a courier for drug money.
Ronald was arrested in August of 1992. He went to trial and was convicted just days after his 19th birthday. There were no drug amounts specified in the charges brought against him; the government estimated the amounts from the testimonies of his codefendants. He was ultimately held responsible for 73 kilograms of heroin, 37.25 kilograms of cocaine, and 32.6 kilograms of cocaine base. As a 19-year-old, Ronald was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Under the federal sentencing guidelines in 1993, the drug amounts attributed to Ronald established a base offense level of 42. He was labeled a leader/organizer of the conspiracy and received a 3-level enhancement. His nonviolent juvenile offenses were used as the basis for a criminal history score of III. The minimum guideline sentence was life in prison.
Without relief, Ronald will die in prison for the mistake he made as a teenager – he has already spent more time behind bars than free. His son has also been forced to grow up without a father. When Ronald went to prison, his son was an infant. Now Ronald says, “My father has never been a part of my life and now I have a son who is suffering and will continue to suffer the same misfortunes that I experienced…my unjust incarceration will never allow me the opportunity to be a father to my child.”