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.”
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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