Michigan man whose sentence was commuted by Obama killed: media

A Michigan man whose drug-related prison sentence was commuted by former President Barack Obama was shot dead this week at a federal halfway house, according to local media reports.

Demarlon Thomas, 31, was shot and killed on Monday night by a man with an assault-style rifle in Saginaw, Michigan, around 100 miles (160 km) northwest of Detroit, according to local CBS affiliate WNEM.

A spokesman for the Michigan State Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Two masked men with assault-style rifles entered the facility where around two dozen people were staying, Michigan State Police Lt. David Kaiser told local news website MLive.com.

“One person watched over a group of them while another subject located the victim and executed him,” Kaiser said, according to the website. “They were looking for this person.”

No one else was injured in the attack, Kaiser said.

Thomas was sentenced to 19 years in prison in 2008 for distribution of cocaine after being caught in a three-year federal investigation called “Operation Sunset,” aimed at taking down Saginaw’s Sunny Side Gang, the website reported.

His sentence commuted by Obama in November as part of a larger commutation of 79 sentences, MLive.com said. His sentence was set to be completed in late March.

Stymied by Congress in efforts to pass comprehensive criminal justice reform, Obama focused on reducing the sentences of drug offenders who would have served less time if convicted under current laws.

A day before leaving office, Obama commuted the prison sentences of 330 federal inmates, particularly drug offenders.

The commutations were the most ever performed in a single day, the White House said, and brought the total number of sentences reduced by Obama to 1,715.

Obama granted more commutations than any other president in U.S. history and, the White House said, surpassing the number granted by the past 13 presidents combined.


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