TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A man called the “prison Houdini” has a path to freedom after Florida’s parole commission voted to release him this month, 36 years after he was arrested for stealing the tools his father bequeathed to him.
Mark DeFriest didn’t wait for his father’s will to be executed before taking the tools and was convicted of burglary. Decades were added to the sentence after several escapes.
Florida’s parole board voted Thursday to parole DeFriest on July 26. He still has to serve at least two years in California for a drug violation while incarcerated there.
He’s been in different facilities under an interstate prison agreement. He’s now in Oregon and not receiving help with mental health issues and re-entry programs. The parole commission was assured he’d receive that help in California.