For the twenty-second consecutive year, Tyra Patterson will spend Christmas in prison for crimes she didn’t commit. It’s time for Governor Kasich to grant this woman clemency.
In 1994, when she was 19, Tyra was in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the wee hours of a September morning, Tyra and her friend took a walk and wound up embroiled in a robbery that ended in the murder of 15-year-old Michelle Lai. Tyra left before any gunfire; but police arrested and subjected her to abusive questioning. By the end, they had a confession. A false one. Tyra wasn’t the only young woman who succumbed to the state’s will. Holly Lai Holbrook, the victim’s sister, says police and prosecutors were intimidating and urged her to say what was necessary to put Tyra behind bars.
But the truth that Holly shared at the scene was that Tyra was a bystander. That Tyra played no part in harassing, stealing, or shooting that took her sister.
Now, after living with the contradiction between what she said in court and what she told the police that night, Holly has come forward to recant her testimony, even going so far as writing a letter to Governor Kasich.