After 23 years, Tyra Patterson was released on parole

James Marshall
December 27, 2017

It was the first time since 1995 that Patterson, 42, walked free in her neighborhood.

Patterson did not fire the shot that killed Lai, but under OH law accomplices can get the same punishment as killers.

A number of celebrity supporters recorded videos past year in support of her innocence claims, including documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, actress Alfre Woodard and "Mad Men" TV show creator Matthew Weiner. She was being held at the Northeast Pre-Release Centre in Cleveland. It was 21-year-old LaShawna Keeney who pulled the trigger, but because OH law states that any involvement in a burglary resulting in murder can lead to a murder charge, Patterson ended up sentenced to more time than anyone else involved-Keeney included.

Patterson was initially denied parole in 2011, but was granted release in October following the wave of support.

They had been sitting in a Chevy Chevette in an alley when they were confronted by a different group that included Patterson. Lai's family were also involved in the calls to release her.

They came across Patterson in an alleyway and a scuffle ensued in which Michelle Lai was shot dead in the head. Things quickly turned physical, and LaShawna Keeney shot Lai.

Holbrook recalled toiling over the decision for years, ultimately deciding to say on the record that Patterson wasn't part of her sister's death.

Tyra Patterson was convicted in 1994 for being an accomplice to murder because she witnessed her friend kill another girl.

"For a long time I didn't want to publicly support Tyra's release because I was fearful and anxious about how my family would respond", she wrote to Kasich.

Patterson will soon begin work at the Ohio Justice and Policy Center in Dayton.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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