A Grateful Dead Fan, Sentenced To Life In Prison, Has Been Pardoned By Obama
Written by Mike Hohnen on 1st September, 2016
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A Grateful Dead fan, who was sentenced to life in prison without parole back in 1994, was one of 111 prisoners to receive a pardon from US President Barack Obama today.
Timothy Tyler was put away for selling LSD to other Deadheads at the band’s shows.
Tyler had two other drug convictions before he attempted to sell acid to an undercover police officer, copping a third rap and being sentenced to the mandatory minimum, which was life.
Since then, his family have been campaigning for his release, arguing that the then-mullet sporting 25-year-old was just a regular fan of the band.
“He felt at home at the dead shows, and he just wanted to go all the time,” his sister said at the time. “He didn’t have a job. He just traveled around to the Grateful Dead shows.”
A statement on a website set up by his family in support of Tyler describes him as “a follower of the Grateful Dead [who] spent several tours following the band around selling beer, fried dough and LSD to your fellow Deadheads and to friends back home.”
Tyler was busted after selling LSD to a longtime front who turned out to be a police informant. Tyler’s father was also caught up in the bust and copped a mental 10 years, passing away before completing his sentence.
The prisoners chosen for today’s list were picked on the basis of serving “unduly harsh sentences under outdated laws for committing largely nonviolent drug crimes.”
Perhaps the most tragic thing for Tyler is that despite his newfound freedom, he’s got pretty much no chance of ever seeing the Grateful Dead live in concert again, with the surviving members performing together for the last ever time last year.
But he can still enjoy this monster new tribute album that’s been curated by The National, which features 59 allstar covers of the iconic band’s classic tracks.
Check one by Australia’s very own Courtney Barnett, below.
Listen: Courtney Barnett – New Speedway Boogie (Grateful Dead cover)