A father and daughter who celebrated his release from prison with a viral TikTok dance share how they kept their relationship going during the 22 years he was in prison.
Justine Tuckett, 28, of Utah, was five years old when her father Bill Lorance was sentenced to prison for the murder of his stepfather in 1999. Lorance was released on October 5 from the California Medical Facility, a state prison. BuzzFeed News reported.
Performing a routine with his dancer daughter was one of the first things he wanted to do when he was free, and the playful video has been viewed over 51 million times on TikTok and Instagram.
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Reunited: Justine Tuckett, 28, of Utah, celebrated the release of her father Bill Lorance from prison earlier this month after spending 22 years behind bars
Jumping in: One of the first things Lorance wanted to do while on parole was perform a TikTok dance with his daughter, who is a dance fitness instructor
“My father has been in prison for 22 years. I have to pick it up this week,” she captioned the clip, which shows her dance solo before her dad jumps in and matches her choreographed moves.
Tuckett, who is a dance fitness instructor, told BuzzFeed News that she chose to teach her father Patrice Rushen’s “Forget Me Nots” dance because the tempo was slow and the moves weren’t too complicated.
“Words cannot express the emotions and feelings I have had this week. Getting my dad out of prison after 22 years was amazing,” she captioned the video on Instagram.
“When I was younger, I blew out my birthday candles every time. I wish he got out of prison…until I was old enough to realize there was no wishing back.”
Tuckett knew some people would disagree with seeing her father dance after the crime he committed, and she ended her post with a note about how her father used his time in prison to reform.
Going viral: Their video has been viewed more than 51 million times on TikTok and Instagram
Reformed: Tuckett explained in the caption that “some people deserve to re-enter society,” saying her father is “unrecognizable from the person he used to be before prison.”
“My father has worked every day, he is unrecognizable from the person he used to be before the prison,” she explained.
“Some resilient people CAN be reformed. Some people DESERVE to get back into society. Some WILL embrace their children, grandchildren and family [once] again. Someone like my father.’
There were some supportive comments from people who were happy to see the family reunited, but others were outraged by the celebration of his release, given the gravity of his crimes.”
Some even accused Tuckett of making her father dance in the video to gain more followers on social media, which she denied.
She explained in the comments that her father was the one who asked if they could make a TikTok together because he had never seen her dance in any of her high school, high school or college performances.
“There are people who think I should have spent the rest of my life in prison,” Lorance told BuzzFeed News. “They’re just inflamed that he can go out and dance with his daughter, and his victim’s daughter will never dance with him.”
Crime: Lorance (pictured with his daughter) was sentenced to prison for first degree murder after the murder of his stepfather in 1999
Difficult to handle: Tuckett was only five years old when her father went to prison, and he never saw one of her dance performances growing up
Grandchildren: Lorance spends quality time with his daughter’s two children after his release
After their video went viral, Tuckett and Lorance shared their story during a candid Instagram Live. They discussed his crime and also how he maintained a relationship with her and her brother, Jonathan, while he was in prison.
Lorance explained that he and Tuckett’s mother, who is now his ex-wife, had been separated for 18 months and that he was in the throes of alcoholism and drug addiction when he murdered his stepfather in 1999.
‘I was consumed with anger. I was furious and I used violence,” he said.
The father burst into tears when he recalled how his ex-wife wrote him a letter when he first went to jail, stating that he would never speak to their children again. However, she came to realize that he would always be an important part of their children’s lives.
Lorance maintained his relationship with his children through letters, phone calls and their occasional visits, which he called “fantastic.”
He said he made it a point to always be positive when he spoke to his daughter, and they bonded through television shows, one of the few things they both had access to.
Making memories: Tuckett captured her dad’s first on Instagram, including his first selfie (pictured)
Strong bond: After their video went viral, Tuckett and Lorance shared their story on an Instagram Live about how they kept their relationship going while he was in prison
Tuckett, who has two children of her own, also made sure that her children spoke regularly with their grandfather during his final years of incarceration.
Speaking about his reformation, Lorance said the greatest opportunity he had in prison was to participate in victim awareness seminars, where he met victims of violent crimes.
He recalled talking to a woman who was still heartbroken about her father’s murder, 25 years later, and the impact that conversation had on him.
“It just proved to me how much damage I had done and that no matter how much I do in reform, no matter how much I strive to be a better person, there will always be someone without a loved one, and I will never fully understand the magnitude of their pain and sorrow,” he said.
Tuckett also cried during the Instagram Live, admitting that it was difficult for them to talk about these things on social media.
“It’s hard to talk about these things because I want to protect you and I love you,” she told her father.
“People will never fully understand our story. No matter how much we share. No matter how much we explain it. Nobody really understands it.’