Shana’s Testimonial

April 2nd 2013 my life as I had come to live and accept it as a co-parenting mom changed forever. I was sitting at my former boyfriend’s house in Highlands Ranch on our big green comfy couch when I received a call from my stepdad, Dan. He called to tell me that Boulder county Sheriff’s were just about to pick up my ex husband on an outstanding felony warrant out of Denver county. Beyond that, I had no further information. My mind began to race; what had he done, who had he killed, what crime from years ago was coming back to haunt him?

 Where is Dada?

When can I see him? 

It wasn’t until a few days later would I find out his charges. And for privacy purposes, I am going to leave those out for now. However, I will say never in my entire life and in knowing my ex husband would I ever think he would be charged with what he was charged with.

While my ex husband’s family immediately wanted to blame me for him being arrested they too found out I had nothing to do with it. They asked to and I allowed them to maintain a relationship with my son over the next 12 months between the time my ex was arrested and he went to trial.

Due to the nature of his charges, I was very concerned how it was all going to affect my son. I could only keep saying “soon” so many times. One thing I was adamant about was not letting my son know the charges or to put a firm deadline on when his dad would be coming home. I did not want anyone to get his hopes up and then shatter them once again. This was something that I faced resistance from, from my ex’s family. As much as I too wanted to believe he would be found innocent, I was keeping the what if’s in my mind. I didn’t want to get my hopes up and then be let down. I was pessimistic even though I wanted so badly to be optimistic. I didn’t know anything about how the charges came about and the evidence that was had. 

 I had to focus on being a mother full time …………

in his very unexpected absence. 

2 and a half days of trial. A day total of jury deliberations later the verdict was in. I sat by myself in the courtroom. 2nd to last pew. Although his family was there I could not bring myself to sit with them. I needed to process this independently. Maybe it’s because I am an only child, maybe not but I just had to have it that way. I noticed they increased the number of officers inside the courtroom before the verdict was read. I still didn’t know what to expect. Shortly after lunch on that Thursday afternoon We the people of the jury find XXX Guilty of X X X. Tears immediately started to flow. My mouth flew open and without hesitation I took off for the doors heading out of the courtroom. As soon as I got the hallway I looked straight at his sister, taking notice of the 6 additional officers standing outside of the court room that I had previously not seen, and said ” Now what the fuck do I tell my son” my back hit the wall and my legs slipped from under me. I sat there on the floor of the courthouse crying like a baby.  I think I mustered up the energy to go back in the courtroom a few minutes later but to be honest the rest of that day was a blur.

I went home that day feeling completely helpless and defeated. I didn’t know what was going to happen next. Sentencing was set for 8 ish week later. So again it was a waiting game. How long is he going to be away? What do I tell my sonl in the meantime? Do I keep being evasive? What is the right thing to do?

I have had a lot of alone times in life but this was different. Who did I know or could I turn to that would truly understand what I was going through and how to understand my emotions? What became a quick reality was I had NO ONE. All of my friends were so supportive but none of them knew what it was like. I was going to be a single mom not co-parenting for an unknown amount of time and this scared me. I didn’t have any immediate family in Colorado. While I had friends they had their own lives. I was still healing from the unexpected loss of my mom a few years earlier. But I had to do what I had to do.

The end of May 2014 my ex husband was sentenced to 10 years to life in prison when I was 33 years old and my son was 6. I didn’t have a support system to help me navigate the emotions that come along with a love one being sent to prison for what could be forever. I didn’t know to tell my son. 

 We have a kinship that some may not speak openly about but it’s there and I’m here if you need someone.

 As the years have passed I have had to make some very hard decisions. In June of 2016, I packed my son and I up in my 2012 Hyundai Accent and drove cross county to my home state of Maryland. I had $800 in my pocket, a place to live, a happy kid, and hopes of a better life. We arrived in MD July 2nd 2016.

When my son was 9, I finally told him the sentence his father was given. When he was 11 I told him the charges. Since my ex’s incarceration he calls our son every few weeks. The relationship is over the phone. His father initially didn’t want us to relocate to the east coast but before we left CO he was on board with my decision because he knew the quality of me and my son’s life would be substantially better. My son just finished his freshman year of high school and is by far an amazing kid. Kind, smart, handsome, and the best son a mom could ask for.

My ex husband was initially in a facility that did not offer the classes he is required to take to be released. It wasn’t until about 6 months ago he was finally moved to a facility that does. He is now on the waiting list for this class but has been denied parole 2 times because he hasn’t taken the required class. Once in 2021 and again in 2022. Covid or not, why was he not in the correct facility to begin with? Hindering release for profit is the first thing that comes to mind. 

I write this today and share my story because I want others out there in these situations to know you are not alone.

Please feel free to ask me any questions. I hope my story helps someone. 


With Love,


Shana S. 

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