Governor Jay Nixon (D) has pardoned five non-violent offenders and has commuted the sentence of the only man serving life in a Missouri prison for marijuana-related offenses.

Jeff Mizanskey

Jeff Mizanskey

Nixon’s action makes Jeff Mizanskey eligible for parole. Mizanskey was sentenced to life without parole in 1996 as a persistent drug offender, under sentencing laws that have since been rewritten by the legislature.

Mizanskey has been the subject of multiple efforts seeking his release, including petition campaigns and the filing of legislation in the session that ended last week.

The pardons Nixon granted were to five people who have completed their sentences for crimes committed as far back as 1958.

Those individuals are:

  • Michael Derrington has been a substance abuse counselor for almost 30 years and received the Helen B. Madden Memorial Award from the National Council of Alcohol and Drug Abuse in 2008 for his work in the field. In 1979, he was convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession in St. Louis County and paid a $100 fine.
  • Nicole Lowe lives in Tennessee and has been employed as a loan officer with various banking and mortgage companies. In 2000, she was given a suspended execution of sentence in St. Francois County after being convicted of misdemeanor stealing for taking two deposits from her employer. Lowe returned the amount she stole and successfully completed a two-year term of probation.
  • Bill Holt worked as a school bus driver for nearly three decades. In 1958, he was convicted of misdemeanor non-support in Douglas County and spent less than two weeks in the county jail before being placed on probation. Holt successfully completed his probation.
  • Doris Atchison has completed a vocational heating and air condition program. In 1970, she was convicted in Cape Girardeau County of misdemeanor stealing of items valued at $1.46 from a local store. For the crime, she paid a $45 fine.
  • Earl Wolf has worked as a carpenter and as a truck driver. In 1961, he and two others broke into a grocery store in Mercer County and stole several items. He was convicted on misdemeanor burglary and larceny charges and received a three-year term of probation, which he successfully completed.

Earlier stories:

Decision on release of Missouri man serving life for pot could come by ‘relatively’ early summer

Legislature asked to free Missouri man sentenced to life for pot

Petition:  release Missouri man in prison 21 years for pot crimes (VIDEO)