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Tyra Patterson celebrates one year of freedom from prison

She was wrongfully imprisoned for 23 years
Posted at 7:32 PM, Dec 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-26 19:32:30-05

CINCINNATI — Tyra Patterson is celebrating one year of freedom from prison.

Before her release, she had to make a five year plan for her life - but she's knocked out the whole list in the first 365 days, and says she needs a new plan.

Patterson was part of a group convicted in a 1994 robbery and shooting death of a 15-year-old in Dayton. She was sentenced to 43 years and served 23 before given parole.

Now she works for the group responsible for helping to free her - the Ohio Justice and Policy Center. She has also spoken to about 45 hundred students at schools across the country, beginning last winter with Aiken High School.

"That will be something that I will never stop doing," said Patterson. "Going to different schools is my passion, and our youth is our future."

Patterson is also coordinating with ArtWorks on a social justice mural for downtown that will bring ex offenders to work with youth. "It's going to be a social justice mural," she said. "It's huge. It will be huge because I want people to know and see what that looks like."

But there is one thing on her to-do list that she hasn't been able to check off just yet: clemency.

"And it scares me because I'm so hopeful for it and I deserve it. I deserve it and I want it, because I want my name back and we face so many barriers and we can do so much more," said Patterson.

The clemency petition remains with Governor Kasich's office, and Patterson says she remains hopeful that the Governor will consider her plea. "I've always read he has a huge heart and he's about justice," she said.

In the meantime, however, Patterson has been making the most of her year of freedom, including enjoying the simple things like settling into suburban life, enjoying time with her family, and her dog.

"When people ask me 'Were you bitter in prison? Do you have any resentment?' And I don't have time for that," she said. "I want to grow from here on out, I've lost so much of my life - half my life - in prison, so why would I be bitter or resentful? I love people."