Our Stories

Christopher Williams

The night before Christopher Williams hoped to come home from prison, Theophalis “Bilal” Wilson met with Williams’ family to offer advice.

“He’s been in jail for 30 years. You can’t expect him to be normal,” he said. “You have to be very loving, but at the same time very strong with him, because there are a lot of things he doesn’t know, a lot of things he has to learn over. Show him love, but give him space. Don’t be pulling in all different directions. ... He’s free now. He’s had 30 years of people telling him what to do.”

Walter Ogrod

Twenty-eight years after Philadelphia prosecutors first sought to take his life for the murder of four-year-old Barbara Jean Horn, Walter Ogrod (pictured, second from right, with members of his defense team) has been exonerated from Pennsylvania’s death row.

In a dramatic virtual hearing on June 5, 2020 that was attended by Ogrod, his family, Barbara Jean’s mother, counsel, and the media, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Shelley Robins New granted a joint motion by prosecutors and defense counsel to overturn his wrongful conviction and death sentence. Robins New denied Philadelphia prosecutors’ motion to dismiss the charges against Ogrod saying she lacked jurisdiction to do so, but agreed to reduce the charges to third-degree murder, allowing Ogrod to be released on bail.

Jimmy Dennis

Jimmy Dennis lives in a bubble.

In the age of COVID, that’s not so uncommon. But even amidst this winter’s tightened restrictions, Dennis’s bubble is a bit more constricted than most. It’s just he and his girlfriend — his childhood sweetheart, Corby Johnson — and he’s not comfortable telling people where in the city they share a home. Twenty-five years on death row prepared Dennis to keep his circle small.

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