In a religious testimonial Wednesday before fellow jail inmates, Shayna Lively said she feels guiltiness and hate for herself but realizes God has saved her and given her a second chance in life. "It's very hard for me
to go every day and deal with what I've been through. I have guiltiness and I have hate for myself," said Miss Lively, the Martinez teen charged in the deaths of three people while allegedly driving drunk January 11 on Interstate 20 in Aiken County, South Carolina. Her comments Wednesday were her first public statements since the highway wreck that killed a father and two daughters.
Miss Lively, who was taking part in an Aiken County Detention Center program for inmates with substance-abuse problems, said she has learned from other inmates in the program. "I didn't want to live life," she said. "But (the other inmates) are always there to love me and touch me and pray for me. Before I came in here, I was in a life-threatening situation. And God . . . saved my life."
Her hair braided in long rows and her right leg in a cast from the accident, the 19-year-old was frequently tearful during the 90-minute Bible study. At one point, she led seven other inmates in singing "He Is Lord" and later bowed her head as the others laid hands on her and prayed that "Shayna would realize God is a forgiving God."
"Being in here, I do nothing but read the Bible," she said. "It helps me get through everyday life. It showed me that instead of being weak, I can go out there. And I'm going to change my future life. I have a testimony."
"She has changed. You've seen a change here," Mrs. Mendes, a SAINT program leader, said. "We taught on the forgiveness of Christ. You repent and come to Him and you ask. He said He will forgive you. And she has done that. She has repented and asked forgiveness, and then we started teaching her how to forgive herself"
Miss Lively realizes she must answer for the charges against her, Mrs. Mendes said. "She knows. Still, she said that she believes. She is standing with God."
—Greg Rickabaugh, Augusta Chrvnide, 8 April 1999