Walter Ogrod, 55, has spent almost 28 years behind bars for the 1988 murder of four-year-old Barbara Jean Horn.
But last month, the Conviction Integrity Unit of the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office filed a request for his conviction and death sentence to be vacated after determining that Ogrod is "likely innocent," citing unreliable scientific evidence, false testimony, and alleged misconduct by police and prosecutors.
Earlier this week, Ogrod's attorneys learned the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas would not grant their request for a prompt hearing. His next court date, set for March 27, has been postponed until June 5.
Now, Ogrod's lawyers and the district attorney have filed emergency motions to secure his release from state prison and transfer to a hospital after he developed symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Walter Ogrod has developed serious symptoms for COVID-19, but hasn't received a test or adequate medical care, his attorneys said.
He developed a high fever, cough, and difficulties breathing, his attorney James Rollins said, but hasn't been given medical treatment despite being in a high-risk category due to his age and medical conditions.
"Walter Ogrod is an innocent man who has spent nearly three decades on Pennsylvania's death row for a crime he did not commit," Rollins said in a statement provided to Newsweek. "He is now showing potentially life-threatening signs of COVID-19 with a high fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
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