"Seven Deadly Sins" - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Special Report--

"Seven Deadly Sins"

November 18, 2004

Albany-- If you're convicted of any of the so-called seven deadly sins in Georgia, you'll spend at least 10 years in prison. That law, Two Strikes and You're Out, went into effect in 1995, which means next year is the 10 year anniversary. Many of those seven deadly sinners convicted that year will be let out of prison.

In prison, you're not a name, but a number. Number 876486 is Errick Dunlap. He lives at Calhoun State Prison. A bad idea, shovel handle and an action that took only two minutes changed his life for the next 10 years.

He was 16 at the time, a drop-out who needed money. "I seen an opportunity to rob a person, so I took it," he says.

That opportunity was caught on tape. At first it seems like a calm robbery at the Suwannee Swifty store in Camilla. "It got out of hand, really," he said. But, two minutes into the robbery, the anxious young Dunlap snaps, after the clerk gave him the money.

"I kind of snapped on her, and hit her with a stick and stuff like that'" he recalls. He beat her with a shovel handle for at least 12 seconds, over and over.

Nine years later, the victim wants to remain anonymous. We'll call her Jane. "I thought I was going to die, I really did," she told us. She survived the head trauma, but scars from that day are still visible. "I still got the marks there on my arm. Dunlap was a 16-year-old convicted seven deadly sinner. He pleaded guilty to armed robbery and the aggravated assault charge was dropped.

A Georgia law that went into effect the year of his crime, gave him a mandatory 10 years. "You will never forget something that took 10 years of your life away, and you will never forget how you hurt a person so bad."

In 2005, 103 Georgia inmates convicted of seven deadly sins will be let out of prison. Errick Dunlap will be one of them, this time next year, he'll be a free man. "I'm scared, because I really don't know what's out there," said Dunlap.

But he does know what's missing. "It's really hard on my family, you know." His mom, Laquitea Dunlap Isom, died of lung cancer in April. His grandmother Ruby Williams, "She lived six months after they told her she had lung cancer."

His mom never saw her adult son as a free man or with Dunlap said.

He can't take back what he's already done, but he can make his future brighter. "I got to have my head screwed on tight when I get out, or I'll end up back in here."

At age 25, this inmate regrets many things, including what he did to the innocent store clerk who had only worked there for seven days. "If I could see her today I would tell her I'm truly sorry. I wasn't in my right mind. If she could forgive me, I would like that."

" I'm not a person to hold a grudge anyway, but it was a bad time for me," says his victim, whom we'll refer to as 'Jane'. "I had trouble sleeping for about three years."

Dunlap was locked up as a teenager and will leave as an adult with a record and he fully knows if he stumbles again on one of these crimes, it means mandatory life in prison without parole. "Now if I get out and do one of those seven crimes again, I will never see the streets again, really."

Dunlap is expected to hit the streets again November 29th, next year. The "Two Strikes and You're Out" bill was introduced by former Governor Zell Miller.

More than 7,600 people have been convicted of a seven deadly sin since the bills inception.

posted at 3:00PM by dave.miller@walb.com