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First Person: Imprisoned For Murder

Billy Johnson, an inmate at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, on May ...

Photo by Michael Lipkin

Above: Billy Johnson, an inmate at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, on May 9, 2017.

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Putting on his high school football uniform made Billy Johnson feel like he was part of a family and let him dream about college and a possible sports career. But Johnson said just as he started playing high school football, he started selling drugs too. He eventually killed his dealer and in 1992 he was sentenced to 16-years-to life in prison.

Johnson is now 46 and, after more than two decades in prison, said he was motivated by an unlikely source to atone for his guilt. He will be telling his story Sunday as part of Donovan Correctional Facility's TEDx talk. Video from the talk will be uploaded to the Tedx YouTube channel this summer.

As part of our First Person series, Johnson shared what drove him to open up about his crime.

Special Feature First Person

KPBS Midday Edition's First Person series tells the stories of average and not-so-average San Diegans in their own words. Their experiences, both universal and deeply personal, offer a unique lens into the news of the day.

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