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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Michigan Prisoner Who Was Awaiting Release Dies From Coronavirus

William Morrison, prisoner who died from coronavirus

Detroit, MI — William Garrison, a 60-year old prisoner who served 44 years behind bars, has sadly died from COVID-19 just weeks before he would have been released on parole.

Garrison reportedly died on the same day that another prisoner found him struggling to breathe in their two-man cell. Authorities said Garrison did not complain about his health, even though prison staff assessed prisoners before his death.

Garrison, who was then 16-years old, was sentenced to life in prison for shooting and killing a man in a robbery incident in 1976.

His sentence was reduced to 40 years in January and could have been immediately released on parole. But he decided to wait for his complete release in September so he wouldn’t have to deal with parole supervision.

His decision, however, changed when the coronavirus started to spread in prisons. His parole application was approved last March but the process, which involves waiting if prosecutors would contest it, has yet been completed until he died.

“My brother shouldn’t have died in there like that,” his sister, Yolanda Peterson told the Detroit Free Press. “He was trying to get free.”

Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz issued a statement saying a post-mortem autopsy confirmed that Garrison was infected with the coronavirus. His bunkmate tested negative.

Gautz said the situation was “unfortunate all the way around,” noting that it could have been avoided if Garrison paroled earlier this year.