Governor Fallin Grants Clemency to Larry Yarbrough

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin proposes increasing the cigarette tax and expanding the sales tax to a variety of services that are
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin proposes increasing the cigarette tax and expanding the sales tax to a variety of services that are currently exempt as a way to close an estimated $900 million hole in next year's budget during her State of the State address, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016 in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Activists have fought hard for many years to get back his freedom. Prayers were answered when Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin granted Yarbrough executive clemency on March 18, 2016.

Several years ago I wrote about Larry in a piece titled "How Three Joints and an ounce of Coke Got an Oklahoma Grandfather Life without Parole." Behind the scene many individuals fought hard for Larry meeting with Governor Fallin and asking her to show compassion for Yarbrough. Mark Faulk did a moving documentary about Larry which showed the injustice of his case. And his lawyer Debbie Hampton fought tooth and nail for Larry never giving up hope.

Larry Yarbrough has never had a single write-up during his incarceration. He has received commendations from the Department of Corrections and nonprofits for training guide dogs for the blind and disabled. He and his wife Norma are still married after 41 years. They have five children and 13 grandchildren, ranging in age from 9 months to 19 years. Before his incarceration, Larry and Norma owned and operated a popular BBQ restaurant in Kingfisher where he was known for giving back to his community. Upon his release, Yarbrough's daughter, Lanita, and her husband plan to open a BBQ restaurant in Pittsburgh, CA for Yarbrough to run.

Yarbough was in very bad health and a commutation was the only way that he would leave the prison. Through the kindness of Governor Fallin, Larry can live out his days as a free man now. Gwendolyn Black, an advocate for Larry, was in tears when she heard the good news. "Thank GOD it's over and Larry now will be free to be with his family." It is not known at this time when Larry will be released.