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Crime Prison Officials Refuse to Let ‘Likely Innocent’ Death Row Inmate Get COVID-19 Test

19:48  25 march  2020
19:48  25 march  2020 Source:   lawandcrime.com

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March 23 (UPI) -- Prison officials in Pennsylvania have defied a judge's order to take a death row inmate to be tested for COVID - 19 . Lawyers for the Department of Corrections challenged the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas' jurisdiction to interfere with prison system operations

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Prison officials in Pennsylvania are snubbing a court order to let an allegedly symptomatic death row inmate get tested for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), according to a Monday report from The Philadelphia Inquirer. Those details alone make the case fraught. Walter Ogrod, 55, was found guilty in 1996 for the 1988 sexual assault and murder of neighbor Barbara Jean Horn, 4. Jump to 2020. COVID-19 is creeping along the globe. Inmates of all social strata and their advocates are concerned that COVID-19 will hit prisons and jails hard because of the close proximity people there inevitably have with one another. But there’s another complication. Prosecutors recently admitted that Ogrod is “likely innocent” and asked for his conviction to be vacated.

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Prison officials eventually admitted that they had to cancel the execution, which officially began at 6:23pm, because Lockett was still moving at 6:37 and looked up to say, “Something’s wrong.” McBride reported that the inmate was “conscious and blinking, licking his lips even after the process began.

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The 55-year-old, an inmate at the State Correctional Institution Phoenix, was reportedly sent to the prison infirmary in early March after dealing with a cough, fever, and problems breathing. His temperature shot up to 106 after he was put in isolation. He was brought back to his cell on March 16 after his temperature dropped, but his attorneys said he is still coughing and having problems breathing. Their client has compared this with breathing through a “wet sponge,” they said.

“To make an innocent man remain even one extra day on death row is unjust,” lawyer James Rollins said, according to the Inquirer. “To leave him on death row showing symptoms of COVID-19 without adequate medical treatment would be unconscionable.” Co-counsel Samuel J.B. Angell said that flu tests were negative, and an outside doctor they hired to look at their client’s medical records said that a coronavirus test was justified.

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Death Penalty Information Center, Washington D. C. 11K likes. DPIC serves the media and public with analysis and information on issues related to Judge Leon Tucker wrote that the prison ’s “failure to test and treat Mr. Ogrod for COVID - 19 constitutes deliberate indifference to Mr. Ogrod’s serious

Death row inmate , 55, who DA says is ' likely innocent ' is hospitalized with coronavirus Ogrod had been in the prison infirmary at the State Correctional Institution Phoenix, in To leave him on death row showing symptoms of COVID - 19 without adequate medical treatment would be unconscionable.'

The court order was issued Saturday, but prison officials are snubbing it. Attorney Timothy A. Holmes wrote a response, saying that two Department of Corrections doctors checked out Ogrod, discussed the case with each other, and “found absolutely no indication for testing Mr. Ogrod for COVID-19 at this time.”

Prosecutors have actually supported Ogrod getting outside testing. Not a surprise. The Office of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner previously disowned the conviction, calling it a “gross miscarriage of justice,” according to the Inquirer. They recently filed court documents asking a judge to vacate the conviction for Horn’s murder.

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Philadelphia man, 55, who's been on death row for 23 years for the murder of a four-year-old girl is deemed ' likely innocent ' by DA who slams conviction as Office of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner last week filed documents asking a judge to vacate his conviction and release him from prison .

The prosecutor’s office has detailed its current problems with the case. The issues included:

  • Horn likely died of asphyxiation, but police and prosecutors in the 1990s suppressed this, and instead argued that Ogrod beat her to death during a sexual rage.
  • Detectives had a history of getting false confessions using coercive methods, Krasner’s office said. That included Ogrod’s, the office indicated.
  • Two jailhouse informants worked together to claim to have heard Ogrod confess, Krasner’s officer said. One of the inmates, John Hall, had written his wife hundreds of letters about an alleged informant scheme, the prosecution said. He’d been a witness in 12 homicide cases between 1983 and 1997. The state now says they spoke the informant’s wife, and she admitted obtainting for her husband newspaper articles about the murder Ogrod case. The spouse even said that she wrote Ogrod by pretending to be a stripper in a bid to get more information, authorities said.
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A hearing on the prosecution’s request has been postponed until at least June.

[Screengrab via WPVI.]

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