Life after near death:

Life after near death: Drug dealer to paralegal

FLINT, Mich. – Artist Relford, 43, is the right side of the law.

He is a paralegal, author, motivational speaker, and caterer. The lifestyle of the Flint native is worlds away from his troubled youth and early adulthood.

“I probably could have done better, but I chose to do the negative life. I started selling drugs,” he said.

That fast life caught up with him in Indiana, where he served eight years for his crimes, including drug dealing.

In June 2013, two years later after being released from prison, he got another wake-up call in Indianapolis.

“I was asleep on the couch: waking up to getting pistol whipped and to getting shot.”

The injury nearly claim his life. Relford knew that he had to turn his life around. While recovering, he returned to Michigan and began studying at the now-defunct ITT Technical Institute-Swartz Creek.

“I’m not a victim of what I’ve been through anymore,” he declared.

His life experiences now serve him at Legal Services of Eastern Michigan in Flint, where he is a paralegal.

“He recognized maybe to ask another question and get to a deeper need. He’s very unique with that,” said Managing Attorney Michael Stanley.

“I can see their pain when they walk in, and I was just there maybe four or five years ago,” said Relford.

Relford, who currently lives in Southfield, wrote The Untold Testimony. He is turning the story of his life into a screenplay.

“People need to hear more about the incarcerated people. Once they’ve done their time and learned their lesson that they can change.”

Relford expects to complete the pilot film later this year and pitch it to production companies.

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