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Tyra Patterson "Elated" At Parole Board Vote To Release

Tyra Patterson in an undated family photo.
Justice For Tyra Patterson Facebook page

Supporters of Tyra Patterson are celebrating a decision Tuesday by the Ohio parole board to release her by the end of this year. Patterson has served more than two decades in prison for her role in the 1994 murder of another teenager.

At a final hearing, the board said 42-year-old Patterson will be released on or after Christmas Eve.

Her attorney David Singleton, executive director of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, says Patterson was overwhelmed by news of the decision.

“She was just so elated and relieved and is looking forward to being able to begin her life again and she is also very mindful that, some of the victims, this decision was painful for them, and she has always asked people to keep the victims and their families in their prayers.”

Patterson has maintained her confession to robbery in the case was coerced. She and her advocates also deny Patterson participated in the shooting that led to the death of 15-year-old Michelle Lai. 

Lai's sister Holly Lai Holbrook, who witnessed the shooting, has since spoken in support of Patterson's version of events, saying Patterson was not involved in her sister's murder.

Patterson's initial parole hearing was originally scheduled for next year, but supporters successfully petitioned the state for an earlier hearing, which took place this summer.

Singleton says Patterson’s 2013 request for clemency is still pending with Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Patterson was featured in WYSO’s 2016 series Women’s Voices from Dayton Correctional Institution.

Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding America initiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.
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