Innocent Man Convicted Of Murder Walks Free After Years On Death Row
Walter Ogrod,55, who was wrongly imprisoned for the murder of a four-year-old girl has been freed after spending 28 years on death row.
He left jail on Friday after a judge in Pennsylvania overturned his conviction for the sexual assault and murder of Barbara Jean Horn.
It is now believed Ogrod was forced into a false confession after the child, who was his neighbour, was found lifeless in a cardboard box in Philadelphia.
According to a report by The Mirror, he said:
Today the knee was partially lifted from my neck. Trust me, it hurt.
His lawyer, James Rollins, expressed his joy over his client’s victory and commented on how Walter has lost years that could have been spent with his family.
Apologising to Ogrod, prosecutor Carrie Wood said:
I’m sorry it took 28 years for us to listen to what Barbara Jean was trying to tell us: that you are innocent, and that the words of your statement of confession came from Philadelphia Police detectives and not you.
Barbara Jean’s body was found in a cardboard TV box that had been left in the street near her home in July 1988. Ogrod, who was 23 and employed as a driver for a bakery at the time, was arrested for her murder four years later.
Ogrod, who has autism, later retracted his confession and at his trial, five eyewitnesses said a man who was seen leaving the box with the child’s remains on the street did not look like him.
Although his first trial ended in a mistrial, he was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse at a second trial in 1996.
A DNA test in January found that a sample from the crime scene does not match Ogrod, and prosecutors now say there is no evidence linking him to the murder.
His conviction and death sentence were both overturned on Friday.
During the trial. Barbara Jean’s mother insisted Ogrod should be released as she wanted justice and not a closed case with an innocent person in jail.
Judge Robins-New lowered his charge to third-degree murder, allowing him to be released on bail, however, Ogrod could face a third trial.