Esteemed greetings and utmost respects is extended to all of my Venetian Brethren!!
My name is Nicholas Anthony Sena and I was raised in Venice and love my hometown deeply!! I’m certain that this missive is very different from the norm, but I was inspired by our community’s nature, and your work with Beachhead, to share some of my story with my family and neighbors, to hopefully give back to a community that I took so much from in my life …
Where do I even begin … Well, my story is unique for a number of reasons, but won’t surprise a true Venetian, I’m sure!! I grew up with my “Godfather,” Mike Bonafede, on Superba Avenue at 950. After battling and defeating a heroin addiction, my “Dad” and I moved there from the SFV when I was perhaps 5, in 1990 or so. I loved it!!
I recall riding my bike to Alan’s Aquarium, the Boardwalk, and randomly down the walkways, Courts, and Avenues between Lincoln and the Beach … The eccentric milieu molding my views of life and Community.
Around 10, I started going into the “System”, and being bounced from place to place, facility to facility, until finally, after becoming delinquent, I ended up in Juvenile Hall. At 13, I was allowed back home with Mike, but kismet was to have me soon wrapped up in the Herculean tentacles and dragged into an abyss by the massive blue octopus that was the Venice Shoreline Crips!! As you know, Oakwood in general, at least a the time, and the VSLC’s specifically, is a black gang.
But despite the seemingly incongruous coupling, (As I am of Italian descent), I was embraced and accepted with love!! This internecine contract would soon permeate every part of my being, as I became entrenched in the recidivist and ignorant phenomenon!!
I began going to “Juvi” more often, and finally CYA, where I was constantly accosted and attacked for my race in relation to my chosen Black gang ties!! Fortunately as a youth, a neighbor had trained me in the martial arts of Muay Thai and Gracie (Brazilian) Jiu-Jitsu. I was more than capable of defending myself, and preemptive offensives.
After three years in CYA, I was released upon our Avenues, more criminally minded and VSLC active than ever. A few months shy of my 18th Birthday, I quickly assimilated back into my Ghost Town roots, and began the parasitic behaviors that now disgust me (e.g. Crack sales, violence, etc…)
On June 13th, 2003, PAC Division arrested me in L.A. for a murder that had occurred 4 days prior in front of Red Hot Video … I was flabbergasted! I had NOTHING to do with the crime whatsoever, and despite weak evidence, contradictory witness accounts and no real proof of my guilt ( I had an incompetent lawyer, a former “customer” of my crack sales, one JJ Little) I was found guilty on December 15th, 2005 at Airport Court, and sentenced to 14 years to life. My path had put me in a direct collision course with an unfathomable destiny, despite my innocence.
Once in prison, the relentless fusillade of ridicule and physical attack continued. As I sill adhered to the ignorant ideologies I’d been imbibed with by the VSLC propaganda program, and because I had no funds to pay for legal counsel and prove my innocence, I was stuck and remain so.
In 2006, I changed my life, my priorities, and how I viewed life. I cut my VSLC ties and dedicated myself completely to the martial arts sciences. After thousands of hours of study, training, and cogitations, I’ve developed my own system and life philosophy in an expression I coined “Muay Sena” with Thai and Japanese influences, as well as Buddhist principles for life. In 2009, I was attacked by a Crip wielding a knife, for my disavowing of the Crips, and a new path. I defended myself from his attempts to murder me and with only a few kicks, and in a very non-excessive manner, thwarted his attack, resulting in his unfortunate death. I now am fighting the death penalty in Kings County Court, for defending my life in this now macabre Catch-22 of events.
I’m on my own in prison, with no support from loved ones, really. That ended years ago, despite peoples’ periodic pop-ups when it’s convenient. I remain stalwart, positive and productive, working on books on martial arts now, and trying to change my life and be a compassionate, good and progressive man despite my Draconian circumstances, and seemingly Sisyphean struggle for freedom, self-betterment and redemption.
This is compendious at best. I just felt compelled suddenly to share my story. However concisely, in hopes of somehow touching someone’s life in some way. I seek to build, no longer destroy, to somehow share my radical change for the better and show that even from the stagnant bowels of injust incarceration, people are capable not only of self-change, but exacting change in others. I now study Buddhism (Therauada and Zen) and really feel the precepts, or guidance, and feel I need to make myself, my journey, and my “Suffering” as we say, known to the the world. What better place to start than where it all started. Venice is my Genesis. It has dictated my life’s course in many ways, and despite my change, it remains my heart’s home.
I must say, this letter isn’t very eloquent, or well thought out. I received my first Beachhead and it just ignited an irresistible urge to extend my hand to you all, so I decided to borrow a stamp and envelope and legal paper (all I have) and let my heart and mind flow freely. In the Venetian way.
I truly hope that this meets the eyes of whoever it needs to. You can find my photos,. etc, at “Prisonpenpals.com/f2o416.html” as well.
Straight forward in solidarity, with true Venice love,
Nick (aka Ninja Nut Case)