A request for commutation for a convicted drug dealer from Kingfisher who is serving a prison sentence of life without the possibility of parole has been turned down by the governor.
Gov. Mary Fallin decided not to commute Larry E. Yarbrough's sentence after a thorough review of the case, Alex Weintz, the governor's communications director, said Tuesday.
The state Pardon and Parole Board voted in August that Yarbrough's sentence should be commuted to 42 years.
Yarbrough, 61, has been in prison since 1997. The board recommended a commuted sentence for Yarbrough in 2002, but then-Gov. Frank Keating denied the request.
The five-member board issued a 3-2 split decision at a hearing room packed with Yarbrough's family members.
Two board members voted not to commute the sentence.
Two others recommended Yarbrough's sentence be commuted to time served.
One member said the sentence should be commuted to 42 years.
If Fallin had approved the board's recommendation, Yarbrough could have been eligible for parole next year.
“The pardon and parole board has a difficult job, and I appreciate the commitment and hard work of its members,” Fallin said. “Sometimes we are going to disagree, and this is one of those times.”
Yarbrough, a former restaurant owner, was sentenced to life without parole in 1997 on a cocaine trafficking charge.
Previously, he served time in prison in the early 1980s on convictions for LSD and marijuana distribution.
Yarbrough also received probation for a felony conviction of receiving stolen property.
State law requires a life-without-parole sentence for drug-trafficking charges after prior convictions for two or more felonies.
In a videoconferencing appearance before the board, Yarbrough said he's been a model prisoner who counseled young men entering prison. He said he planned to move to California with family if he ever was released from prison.
“I have turned my life around and bettered myself,” Yarbrough said. “I have taken every drug program they have.”
The pardon and parole board has a difficult job, and I appreciate the commitment and hard work of its members. Sometimes we are going to disagree, and this is one of those times.”
Gov. Mary Fallin