Mt. Vernon man who spent years in prison aims to help young people

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MOUNT VERNON -

A Mount Vernon man who served nearly 25 years in prison has made it his mission to help kids stay on the right track.

Johnnie Bunting Jr. is the new owner of the Platinum Hand Car Wash in Mount Vernon, and he has come a long way to get to where he is now.

At 17 years old, Johnnie was convicted for murder after a deadly stabbing.

"In prison I learned some tough lessons, but I also learned I should be an asset to my community, and also I should be someone that my family is proud of," says Bunting.

While serving time, Bunting wrote books and started to think about a career in business. Upon his release in 2015, he worked toward an associate's degree.

Now as a business owner, he is making it his mission to employ young people and teach them the best way to earn honest money.

"The same drive that I had when I was selling drugs, I just put in a positive way," says Bunting. "Now I can tell these kids if you have that drive and that energy, you just need to change the direction of which your focus is at."

Bunting is now married with a 19-month-old daughter. His wife, who has known him since he was 16, says his record does not define him.

Bunting says his journey to where he is now wasn't easy, but he hopes his story makes others think twice about their decisions.

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