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First inmate dies at N.J. prison ravaged by COVID – NJ.com

The first inmate incarcerated at Fort Dix federal prison, where more than half of the inmate population has contracted COVID-19, has died from the virus, the Bureau of Prisons announced.

Myron Crosby, 58, tested positive for the coronavirus at the federal prison on Dec. 28 before being transported to a local hospital on Jan. 7 due to “breathing difficulties,” according to the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

The agency said his health “continued to decline after being admitted to the hospital.”

He died on Jan. 22, the BOP said.

Crosby, of Springfield, Mass., had been incarcerated at Fort Dix since September 2019, where he was serving a 14-year sentence for conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute heroin.

Crosby, according to court documents, previously warned the BOP and a federal judge that he was susceptible to the deadly effects of COVID-19 due to his health and underlying conditions he had.

“Mr. Crosby has four significant underlying health conditions which place him at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19,” Jeffrey Silverstein, his attorney, wrote in a motion for compassionate release last summer.

Crosby, according to the motion, had a serious heart condition and suffered a heart attack in federal custody in 2015, had a history of kidney issues, was “severely obese” and had type-2 diabetes.

“It seems undisputed that the Defendant, though still less than 65, has several on the high-risk conditions that make him particularly more susceptible to a severe COVID illness than are others in his age group,” Silverstein wrote.

The motion to be released was denied by a federal judge in October.

“Despite his health conditions, the nature and seriousness of Mr. Crosby’s offense, his criminal history, and dangerousness to the community counsel against his release,” U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. wrote.

Silverstein did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his client’s death.

Crosby tested positive for the virus in the midst of the second significant outbreak at Fort Dix during the pandemic. The prison has the most number of positive cases of any prison in the federal system with more than 1,400 inmates testing positive — more than half of the inmate population at the low-security prison, according to the BOP.

“Your honor, this is a cry for help,” one inmate wrote to a federal judge on Jan. 2. “I am in the middle of the largest COVID-19 outbreak in the federal prison system and I’m sick. I don’t want to die here. Please send me home where I can get the medical help I need.”

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Joe Atmonavage may be reached at jatmonavage@njadvancemedia.com.

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