JEFFERSON CITY, MO. — A Missouri man sentenced to life without parole for marijuana-related offenses was reunited with his loved ones Tuesday after his release from prison.
Jeff Mizanskey’s walked away from Jefferson City Correctional Center about 8 a.m. after spending more than 20 years behind bars. His son and grandchildren meet him once he was released.
The 62-year-old grandfather regrets missing life’s treasures, like his granddaughter’s birth and wedding.
“(I feel guilty) All the time, all the time. That’s something I’ll probably die with,” Mizanskey told KCTV.
His two decades of pain started to heal when Missouri’s three strike law was repealed in 2014, followed by 390,000 people all over the United States signing a petition for Mizanskey’s release.
In May, Gov. Jay Nixon gave Mizanskey hope by commuting his sentence.
“They changed it from a life without to a life sentence,” Mizanskey explained.
With a newly commuted sentence, Mizanskey went in front of the parole board on Aug. 4. In just four days the board granted his release, a process that normally takes six to eight weeks.
“It’s like a dream come true,” he said of the results that are anything but normal.
Police say Mizanskey conspired to sell six pounds of pot to a dealer connected to Mexican drug cartels in 1991. It was his third drug conviction.
At the time, Missouri law allowed people convicted of three drug offenses to be sentenced to life without parole.
He was sentenced and convicted as a persistent drug offender under Missouri law. The law allowed life without parole for people with three felony drug convictions. It’s since been changed.