After serving nearly 44 years in prison, a Michigan man died from coronavirus just weeks before his scheduled parole.

Sentenced as a juvenile, William Garrison succumbed to the virus that has now made its way into the prison system.


It was Garrison’s bunkmate who found him struggling to breathe on Monday night in the Macomb Correctional Facility.


(via NY Post): Garrison was charged with life in prison after a 1976 home invasion resulted in Garrison shooting and killing a man at the age of 16. His sentence was cut in half in January, and he was offered the choice of an immediate release on parole or release without parole in September.


Garrison chose the latter.


Chris Gautz, spokesman of the Michigan Department of Corrections, calls the situation “unfortunate all the way around,” noting that Garrison could have paroled earlier this year.


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


Ironically, Garrison appealed for an early release to avoid catching the virus in prison.


Though Garrison’s autopsy claimed that he had died of the coronavirus, his bunkmate tested negative.


As of Sunday, Michigan has seen at least 30,791 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,308 deaths.