Ex-Con Who Explained Texas Prison Life to Reddit Gets Life Sentence on Rape Conviction
Last August, a couple of years removed from a two-year stint in the Texas prison system, John David Waguepack sat down for a thoroughly fascinating Reddit "Ask Me Anything," or AMA, in which he offered a highly detailed, unvarnished glimpse of life behind bars.
Among the subjects he touches on are sexual violence ("[It's] not like first-hand porn style. It happens fairly often, but is usually done in secluded areas and while the majority of people are elsewhere."); dessert ("White guys buy each other ice-cream at commissary. It's not a big deal and you don't have to do it, but it's an understood rule. When I was first approached about it, I thought the guy was trying to make me his bitch and went off on him."); and a typical 8 p.m. ("Poop in front of 50 guys. Take another shower. Jerk off in the shower. There is no curtain. All 50 guys can see you jerking off.").
Waguespack was equally forthcoming about how he wound up in prison.
I was making a lot of mistakes in my life. I began doing and selling harder drugs. (nothing major, I was still a poor white kid) I hooked up with a crack-whore and started making enemies left and right. One of my small-time rivals paid off my live-in crack-whore girlfriend to steal my dope, my cash, and a few other valuable things I had. I lost my temper, sanity, composure and any ounce of rational thinking I still possessed and poured a bottle of rubbing alcohol on her car and lit it on fire. The police busted in my apartment about an hour later.
Several months later, in 2007, a Harris County jury convicted him of arson. Prison was rough at first, but Waguespack came to view his time there as a wake-up call.
"I was headed down a very bad path and was becoming increasingly dangerous," he wrote on Reddit. "Luckily, no one was seriously hurt and I was able to reform, in a way. I do not think my experience is typical though, in that regard. 85% of people that go to prison in Texas will go back."
What Waguespack neglected to mention in the AMA was how close he was to joining that 85 percent. In January 2012, seven months before his AMA, he was indicted on two counts of sexual assault by a grand jury in Waco.
Waguespack was convicted on one count earlier this month. Last Monday, a jury handed down a life sentence. McLennan County prosecutors didn't detail his crime, just issued a brief statement trumpeting the verdict.
"Due to the courage of two brave women, this serial rapist will no longer be able to prey upon the women of McLennan County," Assistant District Attorney Amanda Dillon said. "The jury's swift life sentence in this case should send a strong message to all potential criminals in this county -- be prepared to pay a very high price if you commit a violent crime against any of our citizens."
Anyway, don't expect him back on Reddit until at least 2043, when he first becomes eligible for parole.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.