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Pardoned but never saw freedom, JP man hopeful for second chance

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JEFFERSON PARISH, LA (WVUE) -

While he got a full pardon the first time around, William Overby never saw freedom. The Jefferson Parish man serving three consecutive life sentences at Angola for drug deals in the 1990s is up for parole for the second time tomorrow.

"I want him to be a part of my life.  He's been gone since I was 10.  We haven't done the things you would expect to do with your father, like go to a football game," Edward Overby said.  He vows to never give up on his father's freedom. 

In 1994 a judge sentenced William Overby to three consecutive life sentences at Angola for three heroin drug deals that amounted to a couple hundred bucks.  It's a sentence his attorney says is unheard of. 

"So every other inmate that I know of at this time who was sentenced at that time under that law is now out because they had a sentence considered concurrent.. so with the consecutive sentence, there was no chance of him getting out," Denise Overby explained.  So far, her brother has already served 23 years in prison.  Under the law today, her brother's attorney says the same crime would carry only a five year sentence. 

"He served a lot of time.  I feel like the man should be released. I'm really hoping that this time around we have a good chance of getting him back," Edward Overby said.  "From reading all the records he's a first time offender.  He's been there way longer than anyone would imagine," Denise Overby told us. 

While they're hopeful, they know too well, nothing is a guarantee.  The Parole Board fully pardoned him in 2010, but the family says it never left former Governor Bobby Jindal's desk.  "Recently, I received a letter saying it was sitting.. they found it when he left office.. it was siting on his desk," Denise Overby explained. 

For seven years, they've waited for this now second chance at parole, and they say William Overby is a new man who even serves as a Catholic eucharistic minister at Angola.

"The last time I talked to him all he talked about was hoping to come out, get a job and see us and be a part of society," Edward Overby said.

He's been locked up so long, he's never seen a computer or cell phone.  Besides catching up on changing technology, more importantly he's eager to get to know his three sons who are now all grown.

William Overby was 39 when he was sentenced.  He's now 62-years-old.  His parole hearing is scheduled for tomorrow. 

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