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Exodus tells the story of Diana Ortiz, 45, who spent over half her life in prison.


She says it saved her.


Diana dropped out of high school at 18 to live with a man twice her age. To pay for their drug habit, her boyfriend devised a scheme to lure a man into a secluded Coney Island parking lot and rob him.


In the early hours of August 20, 1983, the robbery veered off-course and two men were shot. One was killed. Though Diana was not at the scene of the shooting, she was sentenced to 17 years to life for her role in the murder.


She served twenty-two and a half years.


While behind bars Diana earned her master's degree, developed a strong identity and self confidence. She is now an inspiration for other inmates, helping them to rebuild their lives.


This workshop story was inspired by the New York Times story about Diana Ortiz titled Convicted of Murder as Teenager and Paroled at 41.


Exodus is a product of the MediaStorm Storytelling Workshop, where participants work alongside MediaStorm staff to create an intimate, character-driven documentary in just one week. Learn more about upcoming MediaStorm workshops and online training at mediastorm.com/train.


Published: August 11, 2010


Credits

Photography, audio and video: Laurentiu Diaconu-Colintineanu, Natasha Elkington, Leah Thompson
Producer: Jennifer Redfearn
Executive Producer: Brian Storm
Graphics: Tim Klimowicz
Transcription: Avinash Tharoor
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