Justice For Tyra

20 Years Too Long

Key Materials

Link to audio of Tyra’s 911 call

Legal Team’s Letter to the Ohio Parole Board

“To date, the true story has never been told, because important evidence of Tyra’s innocence has never been publicly presented. This letter and the accompanying materials will explain how Tyra’s poor choices, a false confession, and inadequate legal representation led to the conviction of a nineteen-year-old girl for crimes she did not commit.”

Transcript of Holly Lai’s testimony in Kellie Johnson’s trial

“Q: Did you see Kellie take anything off of anyone?

A: Yes, necklaces. Candy’s necklace-“

Supplemental Parole Board Letter

“There is a significant legal distinction between taking a necklace by force and picking a necklace up from the ground.”

Report by Professor Steve Drizin, internationally recognized expert on false confessions

“…after a thorough review of the police reports, the videotaped statements of Tyra and her co-defendants, the statements of the victims, and the trial transcripts from Tyra’s trial, it is my opinion that Tyra’s statement to Detective Lawson in which she claimed to have picked up the necklace off of the ground as she was leaving was far more reliable than her final, more incriminating statement.”

Report by Ira Mickenberg, nationally recognized expert on ineffective counsel

“The failure of defense counsel to introduce the 911 call is inexplicable. It was admissible, and it went directly to their client’s innocence.”

Affidavit of Carl Goraleski, one of Tyra’s attorneys at trial

“Our inability to devise a strategy to attack the confession crippled the defense to Tyra’s detriment.”

Affidavit of Tyra Patterson

“Although I am not responsible for Michelle’s death and actually tried to stop the robbery, not too many days pass without me thinking about Michelle Lai. I am very sad that she was murdered.”

Affidavit of juror June Ackerman

“Based on my recollection, the defense never addressed the confession. The defense did not provide us any reason to believe that Tyra’s confession was coerced. Nor did the defense give us any basis to believe that people sometimes confess to crimes they did not commit. Additionally, the defense did not challenge the prosecution’s assertion that Tyra was part of the group that robbed the girls in the Chevette. The defense also did not provide an innocent explanation for why Tyra was at the scene of the crime.”

Affidavit of juror Steve Guy

“The defense just conceded her confession. It seems like they just took the easy way out. I now believe that Tyra’s confession was false, especially in light of her 911 call, which casts doubt on her guilt, and the testimony of Holly Lai at Kellie Johnson’s trial that it was Kellie who grabbed the necklace. I don’t think justice has been served in this case.”

Affidavit of juror Nancy Day

“I didn’t feel comfortable convicting Tyra in 1995, but I felt that I had no choice. I didn’t sleep well for weeks after the trial because I just didn’t feel right about the conviction. Had I been presented with the 911 call, Holly Lai’s testimony, and expert testimony on false confessions, I would’ve felt confident that I did have a choice to find Tyra not guilty, and I probably would’ve voted to acquit her. I hope Tyra can leave prison soon.”

Affidavit of juror Robert Reed

“I don’t blame myself or the other jurors for convicting Ms. Patterson. I think we reached the right verdict based on the evidence that was presented to us at trial. But if I had known about the 911 call or that Holly Lai testified in another case that someone else took the necklace, I may very well have voted to acquit rather than convict. The likelihood that I would have voted to acquit Ms. Patterson would have been even greater had the defense presented evidence that her confession was false.”

Affidavit of juror Sharon Wilson

“I feel bad about the verdict. I realize that we did the best we could based on the evidence we had. I tried to hold out as long as I could because I believed in my gut that Tyra was not guilty. But I didn’t have the evidence on my side to persuade the other jurors. Had the 911 call been introduced in Tyra’s trial, I would have had the ammunition I needed to convince other jurors that Tyra was not guilty.”

Affidavit of juror Clarence New

“Further, while LaShawna Keeney and the other robbers ran off to hide in a motel room, Tyra went home and called 911, a fact that further convinces me that Tyra was not part of their group. This makes sense because during the trial it seemed that Tyra was peripheral to the other people involved.”

Affidavit of polygraph examiner Don Clark

“The fact that the six examinees all passed when the polygraphs were conducted by four different specialists with over 85 years combined experience serves as strong evidence of the reliability and validity of the results.”

Affidavit of polygraph examiner Robert Patterson

“The fact that all six of the examinees in this case passed increases the reliability of the conclusion that Tyra Patterson did not commit the crimes for which she was convicted. The possibility that all six results were incorrect or “false negatives” is slim to none.”

Polygraph examination report for Tyra Patterson

“Did you physical[ly] steal that jewelry from that girl? (NO)”

Polygraph examination report for Becca Stidham

“Q: Did Tyra call 911 to get help after the shooting?”

“A: YES”

Polygraph examination report for Joe Letts

“Did you witness Tyra take a necklace or any other items from anyone in the Chevette? (NO)”

Polygraph examination report for Angela Thuman

“Did Tyra try to pull you away from the victims car during the robbery? (YES)”

Polygraph examination report for LaShawna Keeney

“Did Tyra try to stop the robbery of the victims inside the Chevette, by telling you to leave those girls alone? (YES)”

Polygraph examination report for Kellie Johnson

“Q: Did Tyra snatch a necklace from anyone in the Chevette?

A: No.”

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