Falsely Imprisoned Ohio Woman Released On Christmas After 22 Years In Prison

An inmate in Ohio who spent 22 years in prison for just being there during the murder of a teen girl has finally been released. It can be argued that social media and public pressure has played a significant role in this case, given that a number of celebrities had recently joined the effort to secure the woman’s freedom.

Local media sources report that Tyra Patterson was freed early on Christmas Day from Cleveland's Northeast Pre-Release Center.

Patterson, 42, who has always claimed she was innocent, was convicted as an accomplice in the 1994 murder of a 15-year-old girl named Michelle Lai.

Note that Patterson did not fire the shot that killed Lai, nor was she even carrying a gun during the incident, but unfair Ohio law states that accomplices can receive the same punishment as the murderer.

Patterson claims that the reason this whole situation came about was that Dayton police illegally pressured her into confessing to a robbery she never committed. The overzealous cops then used that “confession” to let law enforcement and prosecutors try her on a trumped-up aggravated murder charge.

It should be pointed out that several celebrity supporters recorded videos over the last year or so to support Patterson and show their belief in her innocence, including documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, actress Alfre Woodard and well-known TV producer Matthew Weiner.

Keep in mind that Patterson was denied parole when she applied the first time back in 2011, but was granted release late this year after a huge wave of support for her poured in from all across the country.

After she was released on Christmas morning, Patterson was overjoyed to meet and greet family members to celebrate Christmas, according to a report from a local Cleveland TV station.

“Let's eat and open gifts!”, was the first thing Patterson said after arriving at home and giving her mother a big hug.

Of interest, the sister of the murder victim, Holly Lai, was also one the people who were advocating for Patterson's release. Note that Holly was present and a witness to the 1994 shooting death of her sister, and has stated on several occasions that Tyra wasn't directly involved in the shooting or robbery.

According to court testimony, Michelle Lai and a group of teenage girls including her sister Holly, were out cruising, getting high and burglarizing garages on the night of September 20, 1994.

The group of teen girls were just chilling in a Chevy Chevette in an alley when a different group of young people that included Patterson showed up and a confrontation ensued.

Testimony in court described how the two groups ended up getting into a heated shouting match that eventually led to the tragic result of Lai being shot in the head and killed. Another member of the second group named LaShawna Keeney was convicted of firing the fatal shot that killed Lai.

Source: Daily Mail
Photo: MailOnline, Facebook, Dayton Daily News

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