Tyra Patterson has been wrongfully incarcerated for 19 years, for crimes she did not commit. 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. But new evidence surfaced that shows me the verdict was wrong. Tyra is innocent and Ohio Governor Kasich should take action to release her from prison immediately.
I had serious doubts about Tyra's guilt at the time I voted to convict her. I could tell she wasn't really a part of the group that committed the crimes -- 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 trial. For example, as a juror I did not know that Tyra called 911 after the shooting to get help or that one of the victims had testified at an earlier trial that a co-defendant -- not Tyra -- had committed the robbery that Tyra had confessed to. Knowing that now makes me believe that the “confession” Tyra made was false.
Her lawyers never told us about the concept of false confessions. I wish they had.
I have lost many nights of sleep over Tyra’s case. I started this petition two years ago and with public pressure, the persistence of Tyra, and the work of her legal team, there are now Republican lawmakers, the former Ohio Attorney General, and former correctional officers who worked with Tyra, all advocating for her release.
If I had known about the evidence that supports Tyra’s innocence at trial, I never would have voted to convict her. All four of Tyra's co-defendants, a witness and Tyra herself passed polygraphs supporting Tyra's innocence claim. She has now spent 21 years, almost half her life, behind bars. She initially received a longer sentence than even the shooter herself.
This year the Ohio Parole Board heard Tyra's case, where all of the evidence and all the great things Tyra's done to transform herself were presented. I was there. The majority of board members made it clear that they resented the public support Tyra was receiving, particularly from elected officials. They would not even let her speak, even though she had a right to do so.
In a split vote, the Parole Board unjustly recommended that Tyra not be released.
But, the final decision is still made by Governor Kasich. I believe that if enough people sign this petition, Governor Kasich will see that the public supports Tyra’s release and will do the right thing and allow her to come home.
Please sign this petition and help begin to right this wrong.