Oklahoma board denies drug offender parole after commutation

Ponca City Now - May 18, 2016 11:28 am

TULSA, Okla. (AP) – A 66-year-old inmate serving life in prison for possessing an ounce of cocaine has been denied parole months after Oklahoma’s governor modified his sentence in a way that allowed early release to be an option.

The state’s Pardon and Parole Board voted 5-0 Tuesday to deny Larry Yarbrough parole. He’s been imprisoned since 1997.

Gov. Mary Fallin commuted Yarbrough’s sentence in March, converting it to life with the possibility of parole. The commutation was among three Fallin issued since 2012.

Fallin said she did so with Yarbrough because he was sentenced "when Oklahoma’s drug laws were overly harsh, when jurors had no choice but to sentence him to life in prison without the possibility of parole."

About four dozen other Oklahoma prisoners are serving similar sentences for nonviolent drug-related crimes.

 

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