Tuesday, July 19, 2005

From Hell to Heaven

The Los Angeles Times has a fascinating story about one man's trek from prison to paradise. He spent 18 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit. Today, he is a millionaire living in Hawaii, tooling around the island in a Mercedes Benz.

He made his fortune by investing a $1 million lawsuit settlement in ATMs, of all things.

McKinney used to leaf through travel magazines in the prison library and dream about places like the Hawaiian Islands. Now, he lives there.

In 2003, he paid $740,000 for a beachfront compound in Laie with five units. He lived in one and rented out the others. He built his living room around a plasma screen television — a symbolic centerpiece for a man who saved $10 a month from his prison job for two years to buy a TV for his cell.

McKinney recently sold the property — for $2.7 million, he said — and invested in more real estate on Oahu, including a beachfront home in Honolulu, where he now lives. He estimates his net worth at more than $3 million.

"I've just been lucky. I rely on my intuition a lot. I don't have a [college] degree. The way I look at it, God is still watching out for his boy. What else could it be?" he said.

In January, he marked the fifth anniversary of his release from prison. It was like any other day in paradise.
Great story. Read the whole thing.