Tyra Patterson has been wrongfully incarcerated for 19 years, for crimes she did not commit. I know because I was one of the jurors who voted to convict her of a robbery that ended in the shooting death of Michelle Lai in 1994. New evidence has surfaced that shows me the verdict was wrong. Tyra is innocent and the Ohio Parole Board and Governor Kasich should take action to release her from prison immediately.
I had serious doubts about Tyra’s guilt at the time. I could tell she wasn’t really part of the group that committed the crimes. My gut told me that she had just found herself at the wrong place at the wrong time. But we didn’t have the proof to back up my instinct.
It turned out the evidence existed- it just wasn’t presented at the trial. For example, as a juror I did not know that Tyra called 911 after the shooting to get help. I also did not realize that one of the victims had testified at an earlier trial that one of the other co-defendants -- not Tyra -- had committed the robbery that Tyra had confessed to committing. Knowing that now makes me believe that the “confession” Tyra made was false. She was young and scared, and false confessions unfortunately occur more frequently than they should, as we know from the Central Park Five and other cases. Her lawyers never told us about the concept of false confessions. I wish they had.
If I had known about the evidence that supports Tyra’s innocence at trial, I never would have voted to convict her.
Additionally, all four of Tyra's co-defendants, a witness and Tyra herself passed polygraphs supporting Tyra's innocence claim. Though polygraphs are not admissible in Ohio courts unless both sides agree, the results confirm the instincts I had at the time of the trial that Tyra is innocent.
Tyra has spent almost half her life behind bars for crimes she did not commit. She initially received a longer sentence than even the shooter herself.
I have lost many nights of sleep over Tyra’s case. I’m grateful that I now have the opportunity to help correct this injustice. I believe that if enough people sign this petition, the Ohio Parole Board and Governor Kasich will see that the public supports Tyra’s release and will do the right thing and allow her to come home. I hope that you will sign this petition and help begin to right this wrong.
Read more at www.justice4tyra.com