Obama's sentence reductions included those of 14 people who were sentenced to life in prison, saying "their punishments didn't fit the crime." The 46 sentences are the largest number of sentences commuted by a president since the 1960s.
Katina Smith and Thomas' maternal grandmother, Minnie Pearl, were arrested in 1999 for narcotics trafficking. Both had been in prison since Demaryius Thomas was 11 years old. Smith was scheduled to be released in 2017. Minnie Thomas received a life sentence for that crime and remains in prison.
Demaryius Thomas' familial travails were documented in the past by ESPN.