MADISON, Wis. - Kvon Smith has a dream, and it is to move on from a story that has defined his life.
"I want to be a responsible, productive citizen of the world," Smith said as he spoke to News 3 in his Fitchburg home.
On Jan. 15, 2013, the day of the State of the State Address, the capitol was evacuated for a threat. Smith was arrested with flammable bottles in his backpack after posting videos on Facebook saying he was making "molotov cocktails."
"I don't know what I was thinking," Smith said. "No one in their right mind should do anything like that."
Smith faced multiple charges but was found not guilty by reason of mental defect. He said he was off medication for schitzoaffective disorder.
"It's hard going back and looking at something like that," Smith said. "I've just been moving forward."
After serving a year on conditional release, working with the VA, and returning to regular medication, he moved to Puerto Rico to start over.
"I needed a fresh start," Smith said. "I needed to go somewhere where no one knew what was going on or knew anything about my history."
He went to college for business administration and will complete a bachelor's degree at the end of this month. He met a woman he married last year and has now moved back to the Madison area. But he believes his past is preventing him from getting a job.
"It's very frustrating actually," Smith said. "And then I have to hear it from other people in my corner that 'You don't have a job, what have you been doing?' I'm trying."
Author and life coach Don Neviaser, a mentor who calls Smith his son, said Smith is in a much better place.
"He's just ready to get on with his life and wants to do the right thing," Neviaser said. "He's very honest, straightforward and considerate."
Neviaser said help from the VA, time, and a lot of hard work have made Smith now an ideal candidate for the workforce for someone who is willing to give him a chance.
"He is such a good man, such a good person, has such a good true heart," Neviaser said. "Somebody is going to see that light in him."
Smith continues to apply for jobs, and his message for those who may still be concerned about whether he's moved on from his mistakes is simple.
"My past doesn't define who I am now," Smith said. "I am not my mental illness."
Smith said he deeply apologized to those who may have been there at the Capitol that day. He's working with the VA in its community services program to try and complete his dream of working in real estate development.
- High school student calls 911 after man stalks her, enters home, police say
- The Ride event in Madison canceled due to poor weather
- Marijuana Inc.: Billions at stake as states move to legalize cannabis
- Rain doesn't stop farmers, music lovers from turning out for Farm Aid
- Henry Vilas Zoo celebrates International Red Panda Day
- Miracle Ear gives woman gift of sound