Michigan Prisoner Dies Of Coronavirus While Awaiting Release After 44 Years Behind Bars

Michigan Prisoner Dies Of Coronavirus While Awaiting Release After 44 Years Behind Bars

The 60-year-old was incarcerated for decades over a crime he committed as a teen.

Published April 19th

Written by Alexis Reese

After declining to be paroled earlier this year after spending decades behind bars, 60-year-old William Garrison, died Monday (April 13) from complications from COVID-19, AP reports.

Garrison was taken to the hospital after another prisoner found him gasping for air earlier the same Monday just moments before he unexpectedly passed away. He reportedly had not complained about his health in the past. A postmortem test later confirmed that he tested positive for coronavirus

The Michigan prisoner had spent the past 44 years behind bars. In 1976 at just 16-years-old, he was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man during a robbery. However, his sentence was reduced to 40 years in January 2020 thanks to his attorney Becky Hahn and the U.S. Supreme Court decisions for making juvenile lifers eligible for release. 

Sadly, Garrison had the opportunity to leave on parole from the Macomb Correctional Facility earlier this year, but ultimately decided to wait until September where he would be eligible for a complete release without the stipulations of parole supervision. 

“He was a zealous advocate for himself and for other incarcerated persons,” said his attorney Becky Hahn. “He often helped other individuals with their legal matters.” 

While waiting to see if prosecutors would challenge the parole board's approval of his March application for a fall release, he fell ill and died.

According to the Corrections Department, William Garrison is one of 17 Michigan prisoners who have died from the novel coronavirus respiratory disease. 

For the latest on the coronavirus, check out BET’s blog on the virus, and contact your local health department or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

(Photo by: Getty Images)

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