Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas’s mother will be released from federal prison in November after spending more than 15 years behind bars.
Katina Smith was among the 46 nonviolent drug offenders who had their sentences commuted by President Barack Obama on Monday.
Smith and Thomas’s grandmother, Minnie Pearl Thomas, were arrested in March 1999 after a raid at Thomas’s home in Georgia and charged with distributing crack cocaine. Both women were convicted in February 2000. Smith was sentenced to 20 years in prison and Thomas was handed two life sentences, with the ability to apply for parole after 40 years.
Demaryius was 12 years old when his mother and grandmother were sent to prison.
His relationship with both women was the subject of a 2010 feature in The Denver Post and a 2012 story in the New York Post. Thomas also addressed the situation at Super Bowl Media Day in 2014 and said both women would be watching the game in prison.
“They drive me more to know that they’re there and they’re watching me,” Thomas said, according to ProFootballTalk. “I try to go out there and play my best because they’re going to talk about it to the people in the jailhouse.”
Obama notified each of the pardoned prisoners with a personalized letter.
“These men and women were not hardened criminals,” Obama said in a video posted to the White House’s Facebook page. “So their punishments didn’t fit the crime, and if they’d been sentenced under today’s laws, nearly all of them would have already served their time.”
- Dan Gartland