After spending 23 years behind bars, 61-year-old Larry Yarbrough will be a free man once again.
Yarbrough was caught with three joints and an ounce of cocaine in 1995, but because of mandatory sentencing, he was sentenced to life in prison.
Yarbrough was featured in the documentary, “Voices In A Jailhouse,” which brought him to the attention of Governor Mary Fallin, who urged the Pardon and Parole board to release Yarbrough after he'd had a heart attack and was forced to live in a wheelchair.
“I personally didn’t think he would live another year. I really didn’t,” Documentarian Mark Faulk said.
The board defied Governor Fallin’s wishes and denied Yarbrough’s parole last May, but due to a surprising decision, he was granted parole one year later and will be released in June.
“I try not to tear up to think about it. For this family to get to spend their time with Larry and for him to get to spend the rest of his life with them after 23 years is the most incredible accomplishment I could ever imagine,” Faulk said.
Activists hope Yarbrough’s story is a sign of reform in the criminal justice system for dozens of Oklahomans hoping for a second chance.
“There are almost 50 more people in there as the same circumstances as Larry. We hope this is a road map for the release of other people,” Faulk said.
Yarbrough is expected to be released officially in four weeks.