Man nearly tortured to death shares story of survival

HOUSTON -- The burn scar on the back of Michael Graham's head is a daily reminder of how close he came to death on January 4, 2016.

"The lowest point in my life was getting beat," said Graham, a soft-spoken man with a casual Texas accent.

You couldn't tell now, but during what prosecutors call a drug-fueled rage, Graham was tortured for hours by his then roommate and three neighbors inside a Crosby rental house that day.

"Just being beaten on the back of the head, kicked, urinated on, salt put on cuts after they stabbed me."

Someone poured a whole bottle of Ajax cleaning fluid down Graham's neck. The chemical mixed with urine and salt already used to torture him, caused fourth-degree burns.

Graham only escaped by jumping out the second floor window. As he was running away, his torturers shot him in the back.

Graham spent months in the hospital. His scars on his neck, back and stomach are permanent.

Just last week, the ringleader, Billy Shawn Chauncey, was convicted and sentenced to 20 years behind bars. Two other defendants already pleaded to other charges. A fourth is in jail, awaiting trial.

Then there is Graham, who until that day, was a drug user himself.

"I was always worried about getting high, doing this, doing that, just to get a fix," he said.

Graham was jobless and his family barely acknowledged him.

Everything changed after the attack. As he recovered, Graham began turning his life around. He's been sober since that day.

Graham has recovered from his injuries and has been sober since that night. Now, he has a new trucking job and has reconnected with his family.

"It's an everyday battle I got to go through, but I got a good support system. I got my family, my friends, and I can call them any time of the week," Graham said.

His aunt, Wenda Jones, wouldn't let Graham visit her when he was high on drugs. Now, they warmly embrace with tears in their eyes.

"It's what made him turn his life around, or be killed and die. And that's the road he was going down," said Jones, who calls the attack almost a blessing, because in a way, it saved her nephew's life.

Next, he wants to start a charity to help other survivors of horrible crimes.

"It's not how big or how bad you are. It's the name you make for yourself. The name I'm going to make myself is to help people."
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