Walter Ogrod is a 55-year-old former death row inmate who served 30 years in prison after initially being convicted of the murder of a 4-year-old girl named Barbara Jean Horn in 1988. He has now been freed after a judge ordered a conviction reversal, according to Fox News.
Ogrod, who was a neighbor of Horn’s, told prosecutors that he was coerced by law enforcement to confess to a crime he didn’t really commit. A judge officially freed him on Friday, June 5.
The original trial that involved Ogrod ended with a mistrial. This was because one juror came forward to say that he disagreed with the guilty verdict just as it was about to be read aloud in the courtroom. A second trial occurred in 1996, this one leading to Ogrod being convicted of first-degree murder and attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.
It was Philadelphia Judge Shelley Robins-New who decided to reverse Ogrod’s original conviction. She did so on the grounds that prosecutorial misconduct and new evidence helped to prove that he was not guilty of the crime of which he had been convicted.
Prosecutor Carrie Wood apologized to Ogrod, who spent the majority of his life behind bars only to later be found innocent.
“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,” she said.
Sharon Fahy, Horn’s mother, was in support of Ogrod’s release. She knew that no legal action would bring her daughter back and that if Ogrod was indeed innocent, no justice was being served.
“My daughter is never coming home, but I wanted justice for her, not simply a closed case with an innocent person in jail. Two families have already been destroyed,” she said.
Prosecutors have not publicly released any information in terms of what the next step is with Horn’s case or whether or not they have any suspects they are looking into.
“Today the knee was partially lifted from my neck — trust me, it hurt,” Ogrod reportedly said upon finally seeing his family after being released.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, it is rare but possible for a court to reverse a conviction. Kim Kardashian has made headlines in recent years for her work in criminal justice reform. Kardashian’s Buried Alive Project has helped free prisoners who are unjustly convicted or receive an unfairly long sentence.