Twenty five years in prison give a man time to think.
And that’s what Hector Martinez did after being convicted of second-degree murder, robbery and arson in 1984. He thought about the day when he made his way to a drug house in Sunset Park to buy some heroin, the blaze that he was accused of starting and the chaos that ensued.
It was not supposed to be like this. Martinez, now 55, grew up in a loving family of Puerto Rican descent, imbued by values of family, God and community. He went to church, got a job at a pharmacy and married a nice girl who spoke Spanish. But he had a double life no one knew about and it eventually caught up with him.
“The way I see it, if I would have continued, I would have ended up with AIDS or killed,” says Hector. “Even after all these years in prison, I’m not angry because this what part of God’s plan.”