Tyra Patterson, who spent more than two decades behind bars for a crime she says she did not commit, was honored by Cincinnati City Council with a resolution on Wednesday.
Patterson, who grew up in east Dayton, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison at age 19 for the murder and robbery of 15-year-old Michelle Lai on Sept. 20, 1994. Patterson was paroled on Christmas Day after Lai’s sister — Holly Lai Holbrook — wrote a letter to Ohio Gov. John Kasich in 2016 vouching for her innocence.
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Lai Holbrook, who watched her sister get shot that night, told Kasich: “I no longer believe that Tyra participated in the robbery that led to Michelle’s murder. I believe it is wrong for Tyra to stay locked up.”
Cincinnati City Council voted unanimously on a resolution to honor Tyra Patterson for “her courage and perseverance in overcoming 23 years of incarcerations for a crime she denies committing and for her efforts to improve her life and those of many others.”
The resolution was proposed by Councilmember Tamaya Dennard, one of Patterson’s mentors.
Tyra Patterson, who maintain a she was wrongfully convicted of a murder but was released from prison, recongnized by city council for her work @Local12 pic.twitter.com/vXe7xtqgBv— Angenette Levy (@Angenette5) October 17, 2018
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Patterson is working for the Ohio Justice & Policy Center in Cincinnati, which works to protect the rights of prisoners and those who leave prison. In prison, she earned her GED, paralegal certificate, furthered her education through several programs and even learned a little Spanish and Arabic. Before prison, she had a limited ability to read or write after dropping out of school.
Read more about Patterson in this in-depth feature by the Dayton Daily News.
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