Former White Supremacist HasTattoos Removed
The tattoos that covered this man's face announced his hate to the world.
But now, this former white supremacist has shed his racist beliefs, and the ugly ink that once marked him as a skinhead gang leader.
"I looked like a beast, I looked like a monster," said Byron Winder.
Widner's incredible transformation took a full year-and-a-half. He underwent 25 agonizing surgeries. Lasers burned deep into Widner's face, blistering his skin.
"I was basically going into shock each time," said Winder.
It took weeks for the burns to heal. Then he'd start the process all over again.
His wife Julie said, "I watched one of the procedures, and you could see the smoke coming off his skin."
Julie couldn't believe what he endured.
"He'd have five, six, procedures done and you saw no results. You'd see the blisters, have the pain four, five days, sometimes longer. You didn't see any of the ink coming out. But he just kept going, " said Julie.
Widner says he was willing to endure the pain, because of all the pain he had inflicted on other people.
"I felt I had to pay a penance for all the bad things I had done," said Widner.
He decided to change his life when he met Julie. They had both been indoctrinated into white supremacist groups at a young age, and they wanted out.
They married, had a baby, and worked hard to put their racist past behind them. But it isn't easy leaving the past behind when it's written all over your face.
"Everyday I got to look in the mirror and see who I was, the monster that I had been," said Widner.
Dr. Bruce shack from Nashville performed the grueling operations.
"I knew from the get-go that it was going to be a difficult challenge trying to get all of that ink out of his face," said Dr. Bruce.
Widner's face is now clean, but he says his conscience may never be.
"I deserved the pain, I did. Honestly, I still feel to this day that I haven't paid enough pain," said Widner.
Get more information on the documentary Erasing Hate.