A Michigan inmate, who spent 44 years in prison, died from COVID-19 just weeks before he was to be released on parole.
What We Know:
- At the age of 60, William Garrison was serving time for first-degree murder after a shooting during a 1976 armed robbery, spokesperson Maria Miller for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office said.
- The Department of Corrections tried to parole him earlier this year, and he refused to leave prison. Garrison stated he would rather wait until his maximum sentence had been served, so he wouldn’t have to be under any supervision when he left.
- Garrison’s sister Yolanda Peterson said she had prepared a room in her Michigan home for her brother, eagerly anticipating his release from prison after serving 44 years.
- A day after the parole agent visited Peterson’s home, Garrison died at the Macomb Correctional Facility in Lenox Township, Michigan, and a postmortem test conformed he had a contracted the novel coronavirus, a prison official said.
- Yolanda said, “He was looking forward to getting out. He wanted to work as an advocate for people in jail. He was a very knowledgable person. He had a lot going on. He helped a lot of prisoners, reviewing their case. He got people out of jail.”
- His death came just 24 days before he would have been released.
- Due to Garrison’s age, he was considered elderly and popped up on officials list to be released due to contracting the virus.
When COVID-19 was announced in Michigan in early March, corrections officials began scrambling to reduce the state prison population, anticipating that social distancing would be tough to accomplish.