Former San Quentin resident Guadalupe Leon suffered a heart attack during a parole board hearing that resulted in him being found suitable for parole after five failed attempts. He blamed the heart failure on what he called a “COVID long-hauler induced heart attack.”
Upon his release from San Quentin, he was taken into immigration custody and is now fighting to avoid deportation to his native Mexico. He said San Quentin gave him “permanent medical conditions,” after doctors told him he has to have a pacemaker for the rest of his life.
Leon was sent to Marin General Hospital in the middle of his board hearing.
“At the hospital a doctor told me I suffered a heart attack because my heart was so weak from COVID. I remember being in the emergency room, feeling like somebody hit me with a stick in my back,” said Leon.
Within 24 hours, the hospital’s doctors performed surgery on his heart.
He said the toxic combination of a board hearing and being a COVID long-hauler may have created his stress that led to his heart attack.
“Silencio,” as he is called, entered the United States as a young man. Reflecting on his life, he said, “I arrived in the United States in 1986, and committed a crime of killing a person. The judge sent me to prison to serve 27 years to life – ‘one year for each bullet.’ It has now been 34 years.”
At the hearing, Leon said, “I started to feel weak; so much so, the authorities stopped the hearing because I had shortness of breath, a hot chest and blurry eyes. The district attorney continued to ask me questions, then noticed I did not have a reaction. Luckily, they decided to send me to the emergency room.”
“The Board of Parole even finished the hearing, and my district attorney recommended a three-year denial after I left in an ambulance!” he added.
Fortunately, the board postponed his hearing and gave him a new date to finish his case for what, he said, they called “health conditions.”
His hearing was rescheduled for May of 2021, when he was found suitable.
“My lawyer told me, ‘I’m happy to see your insight, your remorse, and your responsibility regarding your case, so the board found you suitable to enjoy your freedom,’” said Leon.
“Understand, in prison I have learned to carry good and positive energy and thoughts,” said Leon. “School and programs healed my soul, as I now practice emotional intelligence every single day of my life.”
Leon left San Quentin in September and is fighting deportation, as he believes he would receive substandard health care in Mexico.