Tyra Patterson attorney calling for new trial to overturn conviction
DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) -- Fox 45 was there for a Dayton woman's emotional Christmas homecoming after spending 23 years in prison for a murder she says she didn't commit.
Now, Tyra Patterson's attorney is speaking out about their new plans to take her case back to court.
"Although I am not vindicated I feel like I am," Patterson said in an interview Christmas Day.
Fox 45 was there to capture the emotional reunions of her homecoming after being released from the North East Re-integration Center in Cleveland Christmas morning.
"It felt real when I kissed the ground, when I kissed my freedom and thank God that's when I knew I was free," Patterson said.
Patterson was 19 years old when she was convicted in Montgomery County in 1994 for the robbery and murder of Michelle Lai.
She was a sixth grade dropout at the time, but maintained her innocence and used her time and lock up to fight her conviction.
She has been home from prison for just one day but Attorney David Singleton with the Ohio Justice and Policy Center said that they plan to move quickly with new evidence to overturn her conviction.
Singleton has been the driving force behind Tyra's freedom, digging through the decades old case to find suspects and victims willing to testify for Tyra's innocence.
"I don't think that that office up in Montgomery county ever really cared about working with us to get the truth, because they just kept saying 'no no no no no' and didn't even want to go talk to Tyra," Singleton said.
He also said bringing the case back to trial court to have Tyra's name cleared will rely on new evidence from Holly Lai, the victims sister.
"The prosecutors office has not budged at all," Singleton said, "I was disappointed in that at first when I started working on Tyra's case."
"It feels great to have somebody be a voice for me when I didn't have one," Tyra said.
"There is a lot of people, who are in prison, who are innocent," said Jeannie Patterson, Tyra's mom.
After 23 years in prison, Tyra said she is not wasting another day. She will start her career working for the Ohio Justice and Policy Center who helped free her, to investigate other cases like hers.
"No one understands that feeling because I know what's missing in our judicial systems," Patterson said, "it's not over, it's not over, we're going to do great things."
Patterson is a certified paralegal, and holds many other professional certificates she achieved during her time in prison.
She will be living in Cincinnati while on parole, she will also mentor area high school students.
Of the four others who were convicted two are still serving life in prison, including Lashawna Keeney who has never denied pulling the trigger.