Pam Kelley | Diedra Laird
On many Sunday nights, you’ll find Pastor Belton Platt at Redeemer in Mission for Christ Church in west Charlotte. There, he stands before worshippers, Bible in hand, preaching with such passion that he’s sometimes hoarse by the final amen.
Many listening from the pews are hurting, beaten down by heartbreak, hard times and bad decisions. He urges them not to give up. If Belton Lamont Platt can transform himself, anyone can.
Platt was the cocaine dealer named Money Rock.
- STORY'S BACKGROUND: Belton Platt wanted to tell Pam Kelley his story
Money Rock’s jury took only a few hours to return a verdict: guilty on all charges. Judge Joseph Pachnowski took even less time to decide on a 35-year sentence.
The buy went without a hitch. Money Rock had stopped dealing weeks earlier. He says he had resolved to become a legitimate businessman. But then a cousin got charged in a drug case and asked – repeatedly – that Money Rock buy him a half-kilo of cocaine so he could sell it to get money for a lawyer.
The man who no longer wanted to be Money Rock was 26 years old when he landed in Atlanta’s federal prison in 1990.
- BLOG: What to read when you're writing about drug dealing
- VIDEO: The love of his life
- VIDEO: Belton Platt preaches
- SLIDESHOW: Belton Platt Speaks at Anti-Violence Rally
- SLIDESHOW: Belton Platt Preaches in Conway
Belton Platt’s life has come full circle. About a year ago, he returned to Grier Heights, where he once sold cocaine, to speak at an anti-violence rally.
Pastor Belton Platt is a hugger. At an evening service last year, he hugged one visitor after another at west Charlotte’s Redeemer in Mission for Christ Church. Then he hugged his son, Lamont Platt, who had come to hear his father preach.