A Sedalia man received news Monday morning that his application for parole has been granted.
Jeff Mizanskey, 62, has served about 20 years of a life sentence in the Missouri Department of Corrections for drug-related charges. He had been sentenced to serve life without parole under Missouri’s “prior and persistent drug offender” law, although he had not been previously convicted of any felony other than marijuana law violations.
Gov. Jay Nixon commuted his sentence May 22, making Mizanskey immediately eligible for parole, and a parole hearing took place Aug. 6 at the Jefferson City Correctional Center.
According to a release from the Missouri Affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Mizanskey is expected to be released within the next 10 to 25 days.
Support for Mizanskey’s release through petitions and social media have surged in recent years from family members, lawmakers and advocates for marijuana legalization. He was the only person in Missouri serving a life sentence without any possibility for parole for nonviolent marijuana-related offenses.
According to an Associated Press report, Mizanskey had two previous felony convictions for marijuana-related offenses when he was sentenced in 1996 to life without parole for a third felony offense. At the time, the law allowed a sentence of life without parole for people with three felony drug convictions and has since been changed.
Police said Mizanskey conspired to sell six pounds of pot to a dealer connected to Mexican drug cartels.
Mizanskey’s previous felonies were for possession and sale of marijuana in 1984 and possession in 1991.