William Garrison, an inmate in Michigan who was set to be released just weeks from now after serving nearly 44 years in jail died last week from Coronavirus, prison officials revealed.
It was reported that Garrison had a chance to be released earlier this year, but decided to complete his full sentence so he’d be free from supervision after his release.
Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office said Garrison was 60, and had been in jail since he was 16. He was serving time for first-degree murder during an armed robbery in 1976.
The Michigan Department of Prisons had already offered to parole Garrison this year, but he “refused to leave prison,” department spokesman Chris Gautz said.
“He did not want to be on parole, he wanted to wait and just walk out completely free from supervision in September,” Gautz said.
Gautz said the department offered him parole once again three weeks ago, since his age made him more vulnerable to coronavirus, and Garrison accepted.
Gautz said that Garrison hadn’t complained about being ill until shortly before his death, and had not reported any symptoms of Coronavirus. A test after his death confirmed that he had the virus.
“We did everything we could get him out,” Gautz said.
Garrison’s sister, Yolanda Peterson, told the Detroit Free Press she thinks prison staff could have done more to help her brother, and that men in the prison said Garrison’s cellmate had been ill for several days before Garrison’s death.
The Department of Prisons said it checked on inmates cell-by-cell, and that Garrison’s cellmate later tested negative for the virus.
Source: CBS News