Man who spent 27 years in prison urges Columbus youth to avoid violence

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A Columbus man who spent nearly three decades behind bars is using his experience to urge people, especially children, to put the guns down.

Thaddeus Jenkins said he is tired of seeing people die for senseless reasons.

Jenkins was released from prison last November and his message for those who might be wrapped up in some trouble: It’s not worth it.

“Fourteen, 15, 16, even up into the 20s, you still young at 20, 21, 25, still got a whole life ahead of you,” Jenkins said.

His urgent message to Columbians as the city experiences unprecedented levels of violence, a message he wants everyone no matter their age to hear: Put the guns down.

“Not worth it whatsoever,” Jenkins said.

He knows firsthand what happens if you don’t.

Saturday’s shooting at the park’s amphitheater resulted in 16-year-old Olivia Kurtz being killed and five others sustained gunshot wounds.

Jenkins was in prison for 27 years for second-degree murder. This week, he reached out to the Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children group about speaking at its call to action gathering Monday because he said he’s tired of seeing people die for senseless reasons.

“How you going to react when you see your mom breaking down crying in court because the judge came back and said, ‘Guilty,’” Jenkins said. “How you going to react when the jury come back and say, ‘Life without the possibility of parole.’” 

He doesn’t want people to follow in the footsteps of his past and he doesn’t want to see any more lives lost to violence.

“Prison ain’t life, man,” he said. “Prison is another form of death. Grow up, live, enjoy life. You won’t enjoy prison, trust me.”

Jenkins really wants Columbus’ young residents to think of all that can happen in 27 years, all that they can miss out on, before getting involved with violence.

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