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Episode 47

Murderers Let Loose During the Coronavirus

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Prisons and jails in each state are letting inmates out. Some before trial. Some early release.  The criteria vary as to who gets released based on which state we look at it. New York alone has released over 1400 inmates. Fifty of those have already reoffended according to the NY Post. 

No one seems to have taken into consideration the victims who may no longer feel safe because of this new precautionary freedom. In Oregon a sexual abuse survivor wrote an open letter to the Governor in hopes they will re-evaluate the criteria. 

And in one case, a man in prison for murder-- who seems to have been recently exonerated by DNA, is still in prison--and at risk. The murder he is imprisoned for is that of four-year-old Barbara Jean Horn. 

The Murder of Barbara Jean Horn:

In July of 1988, 4-year-old Barbara Jean Horn was playing outside her home in Northeast Philadelphia. Her father went outside to check on her but there was no sign of her. He called the police and immediately began searching for her. 

Two hours later her body was discovered in a large cardboard box (made to ship a television) next to trash cans, two blocks from her home. She was raped and murdered, and had scalp lacerations and swelling of the brain. Apparently five witnesses had stated that they saw a man dragging the giant cardboard box down the street. But that was all they had.The case went unsolved for four years. In 1992, law enforcement began reinterviewing people in the area.

They asked Walter Ogrod to come in for an interview as a witness. According to Reason.com, he was brought in because of photos taken after a crime two years before Barbara Jean's murder. In the photos a weight bench could be seen. Detectives thought the pulldown bar could be responsible for Barbara Jean's injuries. 

The Arrests and Trials of Walter Ogrod:

Walter Ogrod was interviewed by police after driving for 18 hours. Philadelphia's Special Investigations Unit did not videotape Ogrod's interview, but after several hours claimed they had gotten a confession. The confession was written in one of the detectives handwriting, but the District Attorney's office thought it was enough to prosecute.

Ogrod's first trial ended in a mistrial when one juror did not feel comfortable voting not guilty. But in 1996, the prosecution managed to drum up two jailhouse informants who claimed Ogrod told them he'd killed Barbara Jean. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. A conviction and sentence he's been fighting since. 

In 2018, DNA from Barbara Jean's body was tested. It was enough DNA for a complete profile. The profile did not match Walter Ogrod.  

Current Status of Walter Ogrod:

On February 28, 2020, the Philadelphia District Attorney's office released a stipulation of fact stating that Walter Ogrod should be released. Barbara Jean Horn's mother also supported this decision. The DA along with the defense attorneys thought the process would begin in March. But Judge Robins New slated the case for June. 

Since waiting for this hearing, Walter Ogrod has spiked a 106 degree fever. He tested negative for the flu and-as of last week-hasn't been tested for the Coronavirus.
  

ASSIGNMENT:
We are looking for any information about Barbara Jean Horn's murder, please contact us with any information. 

We also would like for you to write or call Judge Shelley Robins New's office asking for the hearing on Ogrod's release to be moved up.

The address is:
Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County
673 City Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19107

The phone number is:
(215) 686-2961
 
CODE OF CONDUCT:  
1. Do not name names publicly. Send everything to the police or to this page and we will forward to the police.  
2. Do not post side by side photos.  
3. Do not contact any family members.  
4. Do not doxx each other and be civil. We all want the same thing.  

As tips come in, Jensen and Holes will work to verify them. If they look good, we will publish them here to try and get us closer to their names.


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