Obama grants clemency to West Point man serving life in prison - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Obama grants clemency to West Point man serving life in prison

(Source: WTVM) (Source: WTVM)

WEST POINT, GA (WTVM) - After 14 years behind bars, a 63-year-old West Point, GA man is less than four months from returning home to his family.

Donald Brooks was sentenced to life in prison following a 2002 conviction of conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

One of his daughters, Aldes Brooks, has appealed his conviction eight times, and has been writing to Congress and President Obama for the last eight years.

"When she started writing to Congress, she would be like, 'well, I didn't get any good news, but I am not going to stop,'" said her sister Lacie Brooks. 

On May 5, President Obama announced he would be granting clemency to 58 nonviolent drug users

"Obama granted your dad his clemency, and I started screaming and crying," Aldes said about a call she received from her dad's lawyer on May 5.

Aldes was a 19-year-old single mother when her father was sentenced to life in prison.  

"My family went through a lot," Aldes said. "My dad has stuck by my side even in prison when I have trouble with my kids he encourages them to do the right thing. You see me in here, don't do this, you don't want to be in here."

The hardest times have been the holidays when she takes her boys to the prison, waits in lines that last up to two hours, and then they eat their holiday meals out of the vending machines.

When asked what this year’s Thanksgiving would be like, Aldes was excited.

"It is going to be amazing because my dad can cook," Aldes said. "So I can't wait to taste some of his dressing, and he is going to be in my kitchen November 2016."

Aldes had serious doubts about the criminal justice system after her father was never found in possession of any drugs, but was sentenced to life in prison.

After President Obama’s actions last week, Aldes has new found hope.

"For Obama just to see that and give my dad a second chance it is very amazing to me," Aldes said. "I just want to hug Obama and say thank you because you gave me something that no one in the justice system was even considering." 

Aldes currently lives in a three bedroom home in LaGrange with her three sons. When her father, Donald, is released from prison in September she anticipates he will be moving in with her. After 14 years in prison she imagines it will be difficult for him to find work.  

The Brooks family is looking for any help that they can get after losing a loved one for 14 years. A GoFundMe account has been setup if you would like to help them out.  

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