"I thought, I don't need this," he says. And so within days after his return from California, Salley ignored Giannakopoulos's beseeching messages to call, left behind thousands of dollars worth of electronic equipment and other personal effects and, likening his bolt for freedom to something out of The Shawshank Redemption, boarded a plane for London and then the U.S.
"When I got to London, I was so happy I got out and kissed the ground," Salley says. "I mean, I'm of African heritage. But I'm a true American through and through."