BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y. — On Jan. 29, 2016, Myeshia T. lashed out in a crack-fueled rage at her boyfriend who laughed at her anger.
“I threw hot oil on him, and I stabbed him,” Myeshia, now 44, recalled matter-of-factly, when we met her behind bars at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County, New York.
“He said, ‘Myeshia, why are you doing this to me? I love you,’” the woman remembered, “and I stabbed him.” When PIX11 asked her why, she replied, “Because I didn’t believe that.”
Carlton Adams, now living in Irvington, New Jersey, showed us the scars left by third degree burns across his back, right side, and upper right arm.
Myeshia waited 36 hours to call 911, leaving him slowly dying in a bedroom.
The two had argued about money when Adams returned to the Harlem room they were renting. They had met at a substance abuse treatment program in New York.
Adams said he forgives Myeshia for what she did.
“I understand the crime was messed up,” Adams said, “but 16 years? That’s too much for me.”
Myeshia was sentenced to a long prison stretch, after pleading guilty to attempted murder.
After recovering from a medically induced coma, the burns and the stabbing that messed up tendons in his fingers, Carlton Adams began visiting Myeshia on Rikers Island — and now travels to see her in prison four times a year.
He is Myeshia’s only visitor.
“I can’t live with hate in my heart,” Adams told PIX11, “To keep my sanity, I have to forgive.”
Adams told PIX11 that he’s not the only one with scars. Myeshia was a burn victim, too.
“She said her mother put her feet in hot water,” Adams said.
When PIX11 met Myeshia inside the Bedford Hills prison, she brought up the burn situation and said her grandparents told her it happened when she was 18 months old.
“Third degree burns on my feet,” Myeshia said. “I was given a bath and stood up in hot, scalding water.” She then took off her shoes and socks to show us the scars on top of her feet.
Myeshia said that after the incident, she was in and out of foster care.
She is the oldest of six children.
She said she suffered physical abuse at home, but that her father was always her protector.
During one stay in foster care, she said when she was nine, she was raped by a man who took her to an outing in New York City.
The only time Myeshia cried was when she recounted a single incident that involved her father.
She said he violated her when she was 11.
“I still can’t talk about it,” Myeshia said, wiping the tears from her face and pulling at her eyes. “When the situation occurred, it just broke my heart, my soul, my spirit, everything.”
After that, Myeshia said she descended into a downward spiral of drinking alcohol and having sex with boys she met in group homes.
She was 14 when she conceived her son and she was 17 when she gave birth to her daughter.
In her early 20s, Myeshia said she was caring for her younger brothers and her own children while dabbling in cocaine.
Then a friend introduced her to crack.
“He said there’s a better way to use this — You’re wasting the high,” she told PIX11.
Myeshia’s life deteriorated even more, with arrests for burglary.
She lost custody of her two children when she was 24.
She was in and out of recovery programs, and everything came to a head on Jan. 29, 2016.
“I had no right to inflict the harm I did on Carlton,” Myeshia told PIX11, “Even though I’m responsible for my crimes, there were other things before my crimes.”
Myeshia said she knows that Carlton cares about her, but she’s not convinced he loves her.
“I’m her only support,” Carlton Adams said. “Nobody else helps her. I buy her underwear, t-shirts, socks. I go to the store and get her some snacks,” he said.
Myeshia told us she’d been benefitting from a family violence program at Bedford Hills that helped her to understand her anger issues.
The program was recently suspended.
Myeshia is now participating in a horticulture program, along with communication and math classes.
Relations with her now-adult children are still strained. Myeshia is now a grandmother of three.
“Me and my daughter speak, here and there,” Myeshia said, “She has three children, she works hard, and takes care of the house.”
“My son is basically living the life of the streets,” Myeshia said with a hint of resignation, “How I was raised, that’s how it usually happens in some type of form or fashion.”
Myeshia will be eligible for release in 2029, 11 years from now. She will be 55 years old.
Adams said when it comes to her release; he would welcome Myeshia to his home.
“I’m not scared of her, when she comes home,” Carlton Adams said. “She can come right here.”
When asked if he loved her, Adams replied, “Yes, I do.”