AFTER 36 YEARS IN JAIL FOR TOOL THEFT, MISREAD FILES RESULT IN 6 MORE MONTHS BEHIND BARS
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. If all went well, a man who has spent 36 years in prison for stealing his own tools would have been paroled Wednesday.
Instead, Mark DeFriest must spend at least six more months in prison to prepare for freedom.
DeFriest was just a teenager when he stole the mechanics tools his father had bequeathed him before the will was read. His burglary conviction resulted in a virtual life sentence after repeated prison escapes.
Florida’s parole commission gave him a break in 2014, and ordered him paroled once he completes prerelease programs. It even had him transferred to Oregon to be close to his wife. But Oregon prison officials misread his file and classified him as a lifer, ineligible for release.
DeFriest’s lawyers urged him to remain patient.