Seventeen-year-old Harrison “Stone” Seuga, aspiring to join a Los Angeles street gang, obeyed a gang leader and fired a submachine gun into a steel door. The bullets pierced the door and struck three victims on the other side. One victim died and Seuga was sentenced to a term of 17 years to life.
On a tranquil Thursday morning, April 8, 2010, Harrison Seuga was paroled from San Quentin Prison. Seuga’s transformation from a juvenile without guidance or direction to an educated young man is a testament to his character, faith and strong Pacific Island heritage.
Harrison was born in Samoa and his family moved to Hawaii, and later to Carson, California where at age 12 he began associating with gangs and selling drugs. Stints in the California Youth Authority did not dissuade him from his criminal behavior, which culminated in a life sentence for murder.
Harrison began his sentence at Pelican Bay, a violent prison with little or no opportunity for him to change. He eventually transferred to a Level III facility where he was mistakenly identified as Hispanic and charged as a participant in a racial riot.
BACK TO PELICAN BAY
He was transferred back to Pelican Bay.
To spare his family worry, he lied and said he had requested to return to Pelican Bay. On a visit, he saw his mother’s tears and felt her sorrow. Later, lying on his bunk, he vowed he no longer would cause his family or any other family pain. He made an unswerving commitment to change.
During the past ten years at San Quentin, Harrison received an A.A. degree from Patten College. Harrison was a graduate and facilitator of I.M.P.A.C.T. and T.R.U.S.T. and a certified substance abuse counselor. His passion for helping adolescents avoid the path he took made him an effective member of S.Q.U.I.R.E.S, a San Quentin group that mentors at risk youth. A fellow S.Q.U.I.R.E.S, member, Felix Lucero, said, “Stone had a way of connecting with young men that surpassed social status, demographics or culture. He could relate to teenage issues like image and self-esteem that exist in all levels of society.”
TOP TEN FINISHER
Harrison was an all-around athlete. He was a member of the San Quentin Giants and played for flag football and volleyball teams. Weeks before his parole, he was a top ten finisher in a three-mile race sponsored by the San Quentin Thousand Mile Club.
Harrison’s intellectual curiosity and love for knowledge was evident to anyone who took college classes with him. He hopes to continue his education and work toward a doctorate.
Phoeun You remembers Harrison as someone who “did not talk about doing the right thing but showed it by his walk and example. I came here from a prison with a different culture and attitude, he inspired me to get my education and begin working to improve myself.”
Stephen Liebb remembers Harrison as “someone who, when he received his first parole date and had it taken [away] by the Governor, bore the disappointment with great dignity. Harrison had a quiet strength and great warmth. I am honored to have him as a friend and brother.”
Now living in OPTIONS, a half-way house in Oakland, Harrison plans to work with at risk youth. He said, “When I can speak, I will. When I can affect or influence change, I will.”