A good friend and dear brother request that I share his story. Even though he was involved in taking a life, he saved mine ......
ANTHONY L. COBB DC# 194479 CASE # 91-5033(c) Miami, Florida
As more people become aware of our flawed criminal justice system, the more people who benefit from it try to silence those affected. Social Media is now bombarded with the coverage of violent criminals.
As a result, men like myself, who are helpless, poor, and lack the financial resources to create a 'Social Media Voice', die alone in prison.
I'm asking that you Please take notice of my 'Raised Hand', and allow me to bid you, inspite of my position, to consider the possibility of campaigning for a Clemency (or) a Sentence Reduction on my behalf?
Please take a few moments of your time and read below my story.
By Deliberate Alacrity of The Heart.
It was February 6, 1991, an unparticular warm night in the City of Miami, Florida. Trevor Munnings and Bridgette Gibbs was walking alone in the parking lot of a motel, when suddenly, a white 1979 Lincoln Continental pulls up, four men jump out, robs them, put them in the trunk of their own car, and drive off.
On this particular day, Tony and his best friend Gerald went fishing. They were drinking beer while Gerald talked about his new born daughter, and his decision to get a better place to raise her in.
"I gotta ask my boss for a raise man. I need a bigger apartment for my babygirl", he said. "How long you been working there?" Tony asked. "About a year and some change", he said.
Gerald and Tony dated sisters who lived at home with their parents. After catching a couple of yellow tail jacks, and a stingray, they decided to go by their home. It was around 9:45pm. Tony took notice of this because Tonya's ( Tony's then girlfriend) father has a 10:30pm curfew for all visitors.
"Hey babe! I just stopped by to see how you were doing before I headed home", he said. "You look like you've been drinking," she said. "Yeah, me and Gerald had a few beers", he said.
Tonya and Tony talked for a little while and then made plans to see each other the next day. Tony pulled her close, kissed her good night, and then left around 10:20pm to go home.
Tony drove off, thinking about what Tonya just asked him. She wants them to get a place together. She hated when he left her. They'd only been seeing each other for over a month, and she was fallen deeply in love with him. Tony decided it was time to tell her how he really felt about her, and to take her to see the new apartment that he intends to purchase for them.
Tony was shaken out of his thoughts as he pass by the 'Big Booty' bar, "Tony", Smith yelled to him. The bar was located four blocks from where he live, so he began debating with himself about stopping.
Tony works at 'The Retreat Center' in Davie, Florida. It's a clinic that treat people with various forms of medical problems and disorders. He works there as a chef assistant. It's about an hour drive from where he lives, so every morning he leaves for around 5:00am for the long drive there.
Against his better judgment, Tony turns his car around, and went back to the Big Booty bar to see what Smith wanted. As he gets out of his car, he leans against his trunk to hold himself up. He was clearly drunk. Smith, seeing this, approached Tony to put his game plan in effect.
"Tony what's up? I need you to drop a couple of friends off home for me", he said. "No man, I can't do that. I gotta get up early tomorrow morning", Tony said while slurring his words. Smith said, "Man I'll fuck you up if you don't give me your car."
Tony was then surrounded by Smith's three friends, and out of fear of being beat down, he gave Smith his car keys. He told Tony to sit in the back seat between him and his friend Bryant.
Tony is about five foot three inches tall, and weighed a hundred and twenty nine pounds. All of the four men were much larger than him.
While Noldon was driving, Tony must have passed out, he was suddenly awaken with someone yelling, "Car in the mo" (i.e., motel). Noldon then made a u-turn, went back to the motel. All four men quickly jumped out, robbed a man and a woman of their wallet, purse, car keys, and $20.00, then made them get into the trunk of their own car.
While this was happening, Tony climbed over the front seat and got in the driver's seat of his car, started backing out of the parking space, and as he was turning towards the exit, attempting to get away from the group of four men, Smith yelled, "catch him".
Bryant ran and jumped in the back seat of Tony's car as he was putting it into drive, and started yelling, "Stop the car, Stop the car", "don't fuckin leave us."
After Tony saw what these guys did to the victims, he was petrified of them. He stopped his car and the other car pulled along side of his. Smith said, with much venom in his voice, "follow us". Tony followed behind them to a gas station.
His thoughts were consumed with fear, so he begin plotting his escape.
No sooner than they got to the gas station, Tony again attempted to get away by pulling his car off to the side of the road, as if he had car trouble. He open the hood and begin fidgeting around the motor, hoping that they would just leave him there.
Tony second attempt failed. The other car came rolling up in reverse. Smith yelling, "Get your fuck ass in the car", "We'll drop you off you later." Tony, being already afraid of these guys, got in the victims' car with them.
Inside the victims' car, it was eerily silent among the four men, the music was playing. Tony begin to shake uncontrollably. He's extremely nervous and don't know what do or say to get his self out of this horrorible situation.
Noldon drives to one of the four men's home, who grabs some brown tape, and tells his girlfriend Tawanah to "stay here til' I get back."
When he gets back in the car, Noldon then drives to an empty lot. There were no talking among them, like they already had planned what they were going to do with the victims prior to them forcing Tony to get in the car with them.
All four men exit the car. Tony was now paralyzed with fear and didn't move, and begin praying for his life. He didn't know why they wanted him there. "I wish I never turned my car around and went back", Tony exclaimed to himself, while looking for an opportunity to run.
The four of them taped both victims up. As Tony sat in the back seat, he could hear them complaining about the tape not being strong enough. Smith left walking to find better tape. When he returns,Noldon drives to another area.
The place was dark and quite. A white extremely unpleasant house, surrounded by over grown bushes and very tall trees, sat back from the streets like a scene from a Alfred Hitchcock movie.
The street was empty, except for a porch light that illuminated in the foreground. All Tony could hear was the evil roll and tear of duct tape. The tear ended as fast as it begun. The four men put the victims back in the trunk, and jump in the car.
One of the four men said, "We have to get rid of them."
Tony eyes were transfixed on the porch light across the street from the victims' house of horror, shaking, yet glued in place and time.
Noldon begin driving again. When he reached the bridge over Biscayne Bay, Smith suddenly said, "Stop right here." The four men get out the car and the open trunk. When Tony looked back over his shoulder, he saw them grab Bridgette Gibbs by her arms and legs and threw her over the bridge.
Tony never saw Ms. Gibbs' face, though she constantly haunts him for not doing something to stop her senseless death, for being a coward for not saving her.
Tony sat there in the back seat with his hands over his eyes, hiding his fear and tears. When they got back in the car, Tony said, "She's going to die", never looking up at them. One of the men said, "I don't know what you're talking about."
Tony's body stiffen, he started going into shock at the idea that Ms. Gibbs was going to die. He started sweating profusely. His body began to tingle all over. He sat froze into place, breathing deeply.
Noldon turns the car around and drives back to Liberty City. He drove to a canal right off Biscayne Boulevard and 79th Street, to a railroad track that runs parallel with the canal. When Noldon reaches a secluded area, he stops, all four of them gets out, open the trunk, and drag Mr. Munnings out by his arms and legs to a section of the railroad track that ran directly over the canal. With his hands and face still duct taped, they roll him over into the canal.
As they ran back to the car, Tony braced his self, he felt for sure that they were going to kill him next. He put his head down and said a pray, " God please help me". Then he heard Smith say, " We gotta get rid of this car", " We gotta burn it to get rid of our fingerprints."
Noldon quickly drives to an empty lot next to another set of railroad tracks, right off 17th Ave. and 75th Street. This time, all of us get out the car. Smith pours gasoline all over the inside and outside of the car, then threw a lit cloth on it. It burst into flames.
Tony ran, all four men followed behind him, never letting him out of their sight. He ran back in the direction of his car. When he reached it, to his surprise, Smith said, " Man take us home. And don't say nothing to nobody, or we'll come back and kill you and your family." "OK!" Tony said.
Smith went to high school with Tony older sister Helen, and is the only person Tony knew out of this violent group of men.
Tony was forced out of fear to be involved with a violent group of men. He watched them senselessly murder an innocent young woman for no apparent reason.
After dropping the four men off home, Tony returned to the old house that he was raised in. 1763 NW 68th Terrace. Where he use to be beaten so severely and repeatedly by his stepfather, that he use to piss on myself and shake uncontrollably out of fear of him.
Tony sat there crying, shaking uncontrollably, paralyzed and completely overwhelm with fear.
Tony was arrested and charged with First Degree Murder- as a principal- for the death of Bridgette Gibbs. He had a separate trial from his codefendants. The jurors had a very hard time finding him guilty of murder, and so they began to seek out ways not to do so, by asking the court specific questions about 'fear', 'coercion', and 'intimidation' as a means to find Tony 'Not Guilty', (or) a lesser included offense. But since Ms. Gibbs was the sister of a high ranking officer of Miami Dade Police Department, the jurors were only given the 'All-or-Nothing' option.
Tony, being convicted as a principal, received the very same sentence as the actual killers, Life With Twenty Five years Minimum Mandatory.
Tony has now been imprisoned for over twenty nine years of his life. He had his first parole interview in August of 2015. The Commission on Offender Review would not give Tony an 'Individualized Consideration' for release on parole. Meaning, a review based on his non homicidal actions in the crime.
So Tony come to you for help.
SO WHO IS TONY COBB?
Today, Tony has made a phenomenal transformation into one of the most beloved Mentors in the Florida Department of Corrections, who was little known to anyone three decades ago when he was arrested for the murder of Bridgette Gibbs.
And although he has suffered from his traumatic experience of serving a lengthy life sentence for his non homicidal involvement, his story brings true courage and hope for people like him, who are afraid to speak out about their fears, and who are suffering in silence because of shame.
Tony's journey of transformation took root when he made a conscious decision to redefine who he was as a person, by empowering his mind and heart to believe that he can take charge of his life, that strategic decisions can make him a premium version of a human being, and that the world awaits to hear his voice.
Tony was born broken, grew up with serious beat downs by his stepfather, a monster who ruled his house with fear and violence, who violated two of Tony's sisters, and beat his mother in front of him and his other siblings. The major contributing factor of Tony's uncontrollable shakes. Traumatized by the monster's hand and belt.
Tony was bullied in school because he was small and poor. He never made his own choices of fun and excitement, went along with whatever everyone else enjoyed.
His family was once poor, surviving on welfare, living in a low income housing, and his desperation to be free and loved was smothering. He lived life at the bottom, and his future forecast was tumultuous and uncertain.
When a child and young adult lives a life of constant abuse, it's easy to become prey to the misguided influence of others, to be stirred by trauma's rein into the abyss of silence and fear, to drift (mentally) because of pain and loneliness, and make poor decisions about friends that are destroying your inner being due to the walls that trauma creates.
While Tony was in a state of lost and confusion about who he was, he fell in love with suffering he became addicted to cocaine, crack cocaine, alcohol, and illicit sex. He began to hang out with people just like him, who were going no where and doing nothing about it.
A paradigm shift and a better way to live is what Tony needed to successfully change his Self-Abasement.
Three years into his adaptation of prison life, Tony joined a Self-Awareness group that helped changed his victimization paradigm to that of being proactive about healing from physical and psychological abuse. He befriended men who taught him how to live with God in front of him, helped him build a core value system that changed his behavior into love, forgiveness, responsibility, accountability, and self-worth.
These behavioral changes helped Tony to push pass perceived limitations of being a nobody, a criminal, and a scum of the earth. But he knew he needed more, he wasn't there yet. He had to let go of the psychological effect that his physical abuse and drug addiction had on him. Meaning he had to stop being afraid to speak out against wrong, being manipulative, selfish, he had to address his loneliness and depression. He still hadn't forgave his stepfather, and other so called friends who hurt him.
Psychological Trauma creates a false identity that anchors you in place, causing you to repeatly do the same destructive behavior over-n-over again because of the walls you've built around you, stopping your forward progress toward healing and achieving greatness.
Tony wanted to live. He wanted to become the premium version of a human being . But his past negative decisions ( his case ) constantly kept tempting him to walk away from his challenge of being a excellent human being, to rebuild his life upon sound choices and behavior. So in 2004, Tony started mentoring young men about Responsible Choices, Abuse, Self-Abuse, and Violence on the Recreation yard.
During this time, Florida Department of Corrections still didn't allow inmates with Life Sentences to participate in any programs. So Tony would meet up with his mentees on the Recreation yard or the Chapel.
For sixteen years Tony has helped changed the lives of men at four major institutions that's known for a high level of death and violence. Desoto C.I., Belleglade C.I., Mayo C.I., and Columbia C.I.
Today, Tony is the Lead Mentor of 'Rebound'. A program he created that empowers young adults between the ages of 18-30, to become Productive Returning Citizens, A Positive Influence in their Communities, and Men Who Make Responsible Choices.
This highly sought after program among our young adults, is testament to Tony's ability to effect change in others. He inspire and motivate his students by teaching how to Bounce back from major setbacks, using the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, by Sean Covey.
Tony developed a five Mentorship Team, that uses the analogy of basketball to train their students on: (1) Being Proactive/Dribbling The Ball (2) Begin With The End In Mind/Passing The Ball (3) Put First Things First/Fouls (4) Think Win-Win/Time Out (5) Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood/Stepping Up Your Game (6) Synergize/Taking The Two-Point Shot, and (7) Sharpen The Saw/ Free Throw Shot.
Each week, Tony and his Mentors have a group session with their four students, teaching them each step of the process that forms the habits. Then each Mentor schedule a one-on-one meeting with (each) of their students, to build a meaningful connection, and to personally educate the students about the 'Game of Life'.
No other program is like 'Rebound' throughout the Florida Department of Corrections, so its success rate is steady growing because of the young men's desire to change, and have Positive Male Role Models in their lives that truly love and care about them.
Tony is also an active student and facilitator in the 'Exchange For Change' program. Which teaches inmates how to write their personal stories, essays, poems, fantasy, and journalism.
By deliberate alacrity of the heart. Tony is a very God-Conscious man, a loving soul that helps change lives for the better. He's asking you for your help in getting a Clemency or Sentence Reduction. For a 'Second Chance' to raise his seven grandchildren.
THANK YOU, AND MAY GOD ALMIGHTY BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.