23 years in prison: Tyra Patterson to speak at Wright State tonight


Wright State University will host a speaking engagement tonight with Tyra Patterson, a Dayton woman recently freed from prison after serving more than 20 years for murder.

The university is hosting the event, “A Conversation with Tyra Patterson: 23 Years of False Incarceration,” tonight in the Student Union Atrium from 6 to 8 p.m. Patterson will be joined by her lawyer David Singleton, executive director of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center.

» TRENDING COVERAGE: Woman convicted of teen slaying in Dayton released on Christmas Day

Patterson, who garnered international support for her claims of innocence, walked out of state prison as a free woman on Christmas Day. She was convicted and sentenced to a life prison sentence for the murder and robbery of 15-year-old Michelle Lai on Sept. 20, 1994.

She entered state prison in December 1995, and the Ohio Parole Board voted in October to grant release for Patterson, now 42. She was held at the Northeast Pre-Release Center in Cleveland.

Patterson maintained her innocence throughout incarceration, adamant that she was not involved with a robbery that quickly turned fatal. She was one of five people charged in the slaying of Lai and the robbery of her sister and three other girls. She was paroled after Holly Lai Holbrook, the sister of victim Michelle Lai, wrote a letter to Ohio Gov. John Kasich in 2016 to vouch for Patterson’s innocence.

She has not been granted clemency yet.

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