‘No matter what’: Criminal past leads to law school

April 14, 2017
  • By Frank Reddy / For the AJC
Steve Schaefer
Josh Horton sits in his grandmother's Alpharetta home.

Josh Horton woke up in jail again. The stale reek of urine swirled around him. Confusion cast a fearful shadow. Usually he could rely on receipts and other pocket scraps to map what he’d done before blacking out. But Fulton County jailers had stripped him naked. The 24-year-old Alpharetta native wore only a paper gown. His racing heartbeat pounded like thunder in his head.

This thing he did, it must have been bad. They’d put him in solitary confinement. He closed his eyes, willing his drug-spiked mind to recall the specifics of how he wound up here. He’d been chasing booze with Xanax and Percocet outside a townhome he shared with his wife, he knew that much. He’d been staggering about in that pliant haze of liquor, benzos and painkillers — a numbing cocktail that so often made his evenings feel less like reality and more like dreams. 

He ran a hand through filthy hair and touched beard stubble. How long had he been here? Josh shook his head. Moments passed as slippery recollections slowly came into focus. Each was an ill-fitting puzzle piece of a total nightmare. 

It was coming back to him now. During the transfer ride over hours earlier from the jail in Alpharetta — his hands and ankles shackled to the van’s floorboard — he’d overheard officers in the front seat talking. 

More felonies than we can count, one of the cops had said.

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