Onetime street tough turned attorney is on the run in new reality show ‘Hunted’

HUNTED starsEmiley Cox, David Windecher PHOTO: Timothy Kuratek/CBS ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
HUNTED starsEmiley Cox, David Windecher PHOTO: Timothy Kuratek/CBS ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved Timothy Kuratek/CBS

Ever feel like you want to run away and power down?

On the new reality competition, “Hunted,” nine teams of two attempt to go off the grid for 28 days without the help of technology while being tracked by highly skilled investigators.

We spoke to one of the contestants, L.A-born, Miami-raised Atlanta defense attorney David Windecher who costars with fellow fugitive, girlfriend Emiley Cox — about his experience on the show, debuting 10 p.m. Sunday on CBS. The series moves to 8 p.m. Wednesdays on Jan. 25.

Windecher has an, um, colorful past. Growing up in North Miami Beach, he was arrested 13 times starting at age 11 for various crimes, including robbery (of a bike peg at age 11), mail fraud and dealing drugs. We spoke to the North Miami Beach High School dropout before the premiere:

What was the experience on “Hunted” like?

Unbelievably intense. It brought me back to the adrenaline I felt during my days running the streets in the Miami area. All of those memories of escaping from the North Miami Beach and Miami-Dade Police Departments helped us with our strategy. The biggest difference was that the hunters, with all due respect to NMBPD and MDPD, were far more resourceful. These weren’t beat cops.

What was the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge was that staying one step ahead simply wasn’t enough. We needed to coordinate days in advance while simultaneously anticipating the hunter’s possible moves. Being on the run was the most challenging game of chess I’ve ever played.

How did you get involved with the show?

From my side of things specifically, CBS caught wind of my criminal history and learned that I was once a real fugitive. Growing up in the streets of North Miami Beach, I was arrested 13 times as an adolescent. That doesn’t speak much to my escapability, but I can assure you the times I was able to get away far outweigh the times I’ve been caught.

How did you get along with your fellow fugitive?

Think Bonnie and Clyde. We were in lock step. Emiley was able to adapt to the pressures of being wanted and she was equally resourceful. That allowed us to remain on the same page.

What would you do with the $250,000 grand prize if you win?

My goal has always been to pay off my parents’ house. We were extremely poor growing up, but they worked so hard to support me through college and law school. I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for their continued support, despite my troubled past.

After a criminal past, you’re now a criminal defense attorney. Wow.

I focus in on major felonies, expungement procedures and juvenile law due to my past experiences with the criminal justice system. In May 2015, I published an autobiography titled “The American Dream | HisStory In The Making.” I’m also the the founder and chairman of a nonprofit, RED Inc. Red was my gangster nickname in Miami and it stands for Rehabilitation Enables Dreams. Our goal is to keep nonviolent offenders out of the criminal justice system and develop kids into contributing members of society.