Hi there! I am posting because today I received a notification from Laz Rojas, who as some of you likely know, was an active Doom (and Wolfenstein 3D) modder back in the late 90s and early 2000s, most famous for the WolfenDoom series of mods that continue receiving spin-offs to this day. He was also famously the star of a VICE article some years back. He was having trouble a while back regarding missed payments, but now, he just got into an extremely tragic situation that I encourage you to read more about.
I'm reposting this from the pinned comment on his latest youtube video, which thus far has not received many views:
In short, he was wrongly accused of murdering his mother, and had to spend 10 months in jail during which he was subjected to physical and psychological abuse of all kinds, and only cleared after the autopsy report was finally made public and fully exonerated him. All the while he has lost virtually all of his belongings and is currently homeless. He has not made Doom mods in quite some time, but nonetheless, he does sometime visit the Doomworld forums and is, for lack of a better term, a recognized staple of the old Doom community. I think, given all the great contributions he has given us over the years, the least we can do to repay the favor is help him in his hour of need and at least try to partially reverse a great injustice that we would not wish on our worst enemy, let alone on a talented, creative and tireless artist such as him. If you have anything to spare, anything really, I strongly encourage going to the gofundme page linked below:I AM BACK
After ten months, I am back -- and you would never believe what's happened to me during this period of time. It would never cross your mind. You would never conceive of it.
In a week or two, I hope to be able to tell the entire story in detail, and it will make your blood run cold. The brief overview I'm going to provide today should be enough to shock you.
On March 6 of last year, my dear mother passed away at the age of 84 from Stage 7 dementia. She was first diagnosed in 2013, and as some of you know, I took care of her for almost nine years. Due to the level of care I provided for her, she exceeded the maximum life expectancy for dementia sufferers by half a year, but dementia is a degenerative, fatal disease for which there is no cure and against which she and I finally lost the battle.
During the first two months of 2022, my mother quickly lost all motor control and became practically narcoleptic. I had to carry her from her bed to the toilet and back, and feed her all her meals because she lost the ability to do so herself. She was literally going through what is known as end-of-life. On the morning of March 6, I found her apparently passed out on the toilet. I tried to wake her up but she didn't respond, so I called 911 and requested paramedics. While they came, the operator guided me in giving my mother CPR.
The paramedics arrived and took my mother to the hospital, and I followed in a cab. I waited three or fours hours for word on her condition. What happened instead was two police officers arrested me for elder abuse and neglect. I was photographed, fingerprinted, and DNA samples were taken. Thus began a ten-month nightmare as I was plunged into what seemed like an alternate universe where truth, logic, and common sense didn't apply.
All the effects of her dementia were ascribed to me as if she had never suffered from the disease. I was blamed for every aspect of her condition. I was interrogated by a detective who told me the emergency room doctor had reported my mother's skull was terribly fractured and that her brain was bleeding, and that it was obvious I had severely beaten her and smashed her in the head. I told him that was a lie and that if her brain was bleeding at all it was due to strokes caused by her Stage 7 dementia. I was given no credence at all, the case was filed with the D.A. the next day, and I was arraigned.
At the arraignment, I pleaded not guilty. The prosecutor reiterated the charge of elder abuse and neglect, said my mother was braindead because of blunt force trauma, and that I also would be charged with second degree homicide. I was then transported to a correctional facility, handcuffed and in chains.
For someone with no criminal history whatsoever, who has lived a clean life and never been in trouble with the law at all, this was the beginning of a horrendous experience I never would have conceived of. To this day I still can't wrap my brain around how it could have happened at all. Throughout the rest of 2022, I remained imprisoned and suffered both emotional and psychological anguish that would have driven me to suicide were it not for my faith in God. I suffered physical abuse as well, including two unprovoked attacks which left me with two broken front teeth, another tooth knocked out, a nose broken in three places, and a damaged right eye which suffered loss of vision. Throughout all of this, my public defender continued to waive time month after month, waiting for the autopsy report to come in.
That report finally came in last month, in December. In November, the date of January 4, 2023 had been set for the preliminary hearing for my trial. But as soon as the autopsy came in, I was offered a deal two days before my birthday in December. I was offered time served, three years probation, and a class. Everyone I related this to told me not to take the deal, that I was being tempted with the offer of freedom on my birthday so I would cave in and fold even though the autopsy had apparently cleared me. It was a poker game, and the D.A.'s office wanted me to fold before they would have to fold at the prelim because they had no case. If I took the deal, I wouldn't be able to sue the county for everything they had put me through and everything I had suffered due to false arrest and false imprisonment. So I rejected the deal.
For the rest of December, they tried to make me take the deal. They even had me dragged into court when I refused to go. All I did in court was stipulate I rejected the deal. They said it was still on the table and I could accept it anytime I changed my mind. This convinced me they knew I should never have been arrested or charged and that they were scared of going to trial. So I stood firm and refused to budge. Especially when the autopsy results were revealed. The coroner had found absolutely no evidence of a fractured skull, no signs of outward contusions or results of blunt force trauma, and ruled that the bleeding on my mother's brain was due to a series of strokes caused by her dementia.
In short, I was arrested and charged because of a lie, a lie concocted either by the emergency room doctor, the detective, or both. Nothing they had claimed was true or real, just a huge and heinous falsehood. I'd known that all along, but now the autopsy had finally proven it and that truth had prevailed.
Last week, I attended the prelim. When it ended, the judge dismissed the case, dropped the charges, and released me. After ten long months, I had finally been exonerated and liberated. But the damage had already been done. During my incarceration, I lost my car and all of my possessions -- including everything my mother and I had kept in a storage facility for the past nine years. I have lost not only my family history and my scholastic history, but every single thing I had created since kindergarten. Every drawing, every painting, every cartoon, every comic strip, every poem, every short story, every novel, every movie script, every video, every film, all of it. The creative output of my entire life is gone, even my one-man showcase. It's as though I had never lived or ever created anything at all. My entire life history has been lost, as if I've been erased from the timeline, as if I'd never been on this planet all these decades. I am a man without a past.
Before any of this happened, I thought my mother's eventual death would be the worst thing that could ever happen to me. I was wrong. L.A. County has made my mother's death a million times worse than it would have been by itself, and used it to destroy an innocent man. I never saw my mother after March 6 of last year, because not only was I in jail, the county took possession of her corpse and disposed of it as they saw fit. Consequently I will never have closure over her death. Ever.
I lost my mom, then I had everything else taken from me. Yes, they finally admitted it was a mistake and gave me back my freedom, but as I said, the damage is done. I have been living on the streets of L.A. for the past week, penniless, trying to get help from agencies and institutions that have made it a nightmare to even get any traction and escape from my current situation. Only one organization has helped me, a private foundation called Center for Health Justice that has provided me with some food and allowed me to use their phone and their computer/internet. It is at their office that I'm typing this now. But I have lost about ten pounds over the past week and I'm worn out from all the walking I've had to do. If you saw me, you wouldn't recognize me. I don't recognize myself. I look nothing at all like my photo here on FB. My hair hasn't been trimmed or cut in months, and neither has my beard or mustache. I look like I've been on a desert island all this time.
Everyone I've described my nightmare to says any lawyer would jump to help me sue the county and that I stand to win millions, and of that I have no doubt. But I need to stabilize my existence for the time being and survive to make it that far. So I am putting aside all notions of pride and asking, pleading, even begging any of you who have read this and who feel so motivated or inclined, to send any donation you can to the GoFundMe that was set up a few years ago for me and my mom. She is gone now, but if I don't get help soon to crawl out of this pit the country dropped me into upon my release, I may be joining her soon.
Here is the link to donate. Any amount will be appreciated from the bottom of my heart, from the core of my being, anything at all.
I will try to log in here again in a week or two and give a status report and a fuller account of everything I endured while in jail.
God bless all of you.
May 2023 end up being a better year for Laz, hopefully with our help, too. And even if you cannot spare anything yourself, spread the word, for maybe someone with the kindness and the means, even outside of this community, could try and help. Thanks for your attention.