SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (KGO) --President Obama commuted the sentences of more than 100 prisoners on Tuesday, including an East Bay man arrested nearly 30 years ago. Darryl Lamar Reed was found guilty of distributing crack and cocaine in 1990. Now, the 48-year-old is just months away from freedom.
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It's the news Delores Stephens has waited 26 years for -- her son is finally being released from federal prison after serving more than two decades behind bars.
"He's coming home in December, I said, 'Woohoo!' like that," she said. "I told myself too, I believe the lord sent him there for a reason."
Reed was only 20 when he was busted by the feds as a kingpin in Oakland's crack- cocaine drug trade. It earned him the street nickname "Little D." As part of the Reagan era "War on Drugs," Reed got a stiff sentence of 35 years in prison.
Reed's son Lamar thanks President Obama for commuting his father's long sentence. He says that through the incarceration, his dad was always there.
"I want to thank President Obama, it's been a long journey," Lamar Reed said. "I knew I had a father who loved me and that I had someone who wanted me to be better than he was. He pushed me to be that."
Lamar Reed went to college and is now a mixed martial arts professional fighter.
Nicole Lee with Oakland's Urban Peace Movement lobbied Washington to free Reed. She says Reed's been a mentor to hundreds of youth by calling into meetings over the years.
"He feels it's his responsibility to turn the tide the other way and use his life experience to steer youth in Oakland in a positive direction," Lee said.
But former Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Russ Giuntini believes Reed should stay behind bars.
"He was a major player and a gangster. I mean that's the only way you can characterize him," Giuntini said.
Darryl Lamar Reed is scheduled to be released from prison Dec. 28.