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Former teen inmates set to speak at Paulding church on lessons learned
by Adam Elrod
May 16, 2013 08:30 AM | 2686 views | 1 1 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Paulding County youth have the chance to hear from two former teen inmates about the struggles they faced — and how one bad decision can change a life forever.

Desiree Lee of Snellville and Ernest Boyd of Atlanta are scheduled to speak at the Hiram Seventh-Day Adventist Church Saturday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Both Lee and Boyd were arrested when they were 17 years old.

Lee attended Shiloh High School and was the captain of the basketball team. She had scholarship offers from Wake Forest University and Louisiana State University, she said.

While in school she experienced bullying because of her height: 5 feet, 10 inches, Lee said.

“I wanted to be cool. I wanted to be accepted,” she said.

In looking to be “cool” she became a driver for some of her friends on a two-week robbery spree, Lee said. Because of her involvement she was charged with 11 counts of armed robbery and five counts of aggravated assault.

Lee, 29, was arrested in July 2002, a month before she was going to start college. She spent four years in prison, and was released in September 2006.

She said life after prison is not what is typically seen on TV. Job opportunities were scarce for an ex-convict, she noted.

“My whole mission is to tell kids about life after prison,” Lee said.

Boyd, 36, was raised in Atlanta and had somewhat of a sheltered life, he said.

“Like any other teenager you want to have fun,” Boyd said.

One day he received a phone call from his brother asking him to help speak to someone who had an armed robbery charge against his brother.

“I had no idea what was about to happen,” he said.

Once at the person’s house, his brother kicked in the door then shot and killed two people, he said. In July 1994, Boyd was facing charges two counts of murder, two counts of aggravated assault, a count for burglary and a life sentence.

“I was pretty much guilty by association,” Boyd said.

The murder charges were dropped, but he still faced the others, he said. Boyd was sentenced to 12 years in prison and served 10 and a half years, and was released Jan. 28, 2005.

“Take five minutes, 10 minutes before you make that move, because it can affect you the rest of your life,” Boyd said.

For more information about Lee, visit, and to get more information about Boyd, email him at

The church is at 310 Main St. in Hiram.

Information: (770) 439-1586.

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