62-year old Wendell Beard benefited from a controversial court ruling questioning the fairness of instructions given to juries decades ago and that freed him from a life sentence two years ago.
Free to walk the streets after 35 years behind bars, Beard was overwhelmed with joy over this second chance at life.
"To be honest with you, if I didn't see so many people down there where I would have felt embarrassed, I would have kissed the ground, cause I never felt that I would be free," Beard told us upon his release.
But Beard's freedom ended abruptly on Wednesday when police responded to a tip of an armed man with fentanyl in the 2200 block of Linden Avenue in Reservoir Hill.
"He was pretty much where they said he would be. As the officers approached his car, in plain view in the passenger's compartment, they saw six bottles of hospital-grade Fentanyl---small bottles," said Det. Donny Moses of the Baltimore City Police Department, "They found two loaded 9 millimeter handguns. They found knives. They found a club. They found two sets handcuffs. They found a black ski mask."
The case begs the question how anyone could squander their newfound freedom just two years after walking out of prison.
"When you spend that much time in jail, if you don't get the necessary training to survive in an everchanging world, and look around---Baltimore is not the Baltimore that it was in the Eighties... if you don't get the tools to survive in this element, you're going to have problems so it's not uncommon for people to fall back into those patterns," said Moses.
During his crime-filled early years, Beard earned a reputation for repeated escapes from police custody, and he knew he had beaten the odds when the courts cut short his life sentence two years ago giving him his first taste of freedom in decades.
"When you have those tags on you about being a great escape artist and a legend to something that you really had to do at the time, you don't get a chance, and this is a chance of a lifetime," Beard acknowledged.
If Beard is convicted on these new charges, it would be a violation of his probation and would undoubtedly send him back to prison to live out the rest of his life behind bars.