UPDATE @ 4:30 p.m.
Tyra Patterson will be released on or after Dec. 24, the Ohio Parole Board has decided.
The votes of the board are not public, but at least seven of them had to vote in favor of granting parole.
UPDATE @ 3:57 p.m.
In his brief closing remarks, Attorney David Singleton of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center reiterated his request that Tyra Patterson be released and that he will help her succeed. The board retired into executive session to deliberate at 3:55 p.m.
UPDATE @ 3 p.m.
A parole board hearing is underway in Collumbus regarding Tyra Patterson.
Attorney David Singleton of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center announced the speakers and supporters of Tyra Patterson at the hearing. Singleton said Patterson’s mother couldn’t attend due to a medical procedure.
Mentor Kathleen Sellers, a religion teacher, is telling the board about becoming familiar with Patterson’s story and how she taught a class about her case.
Sellers said Patterson “can thrive” if she gets out of prison by sharing her story with others.
Tyra Patterson, a Dayton woman convicted of the 1994 murder of 15-year-old Michelle Lai but who has a growing list of supporters advocating her freedom, has a parole board hearing today in Columbus.
Patterson, 42, will have her case heard at 2:30 p.m. today before the state’s full parole board. An Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman said the hearings usually take 90 minutes and that the board will vote on whether to release Patterson.
In April 2016, Lai’s own sister, Holly Holbrook, wrote a letter to Ohio Gov. John Kasich saying Patterson wasn’t involved in the robbery and shooting of her sister on Sept. 20, 1994.
“I no longer believe that Tyra participated in the robbery that led to Michelle’s murder,” Holbrook’s letter reads. “I believe it is wrong for Tyra to stay locked up.”
Holbrook wrote that the night of the murder she told police Patterson wasn’t involved, but later changed her mind after Patterson confessed — a confession Patterson claims was coerced.
Celebrity support for Patterson has included documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, actress Alfre Woodard and “Mad Men” TV show creator Matthew Weiner.
Politicians calling for her release include ex-Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters; five state senators including Bill Beagle, Shannon Jones and Peggy Lehner; and former U.S. congresswoman Jean Schmidt.
Leon Daidone, chief of the criminal division at the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office, pointed out last December that the parole board has twice voted against Patterson’s clemency, the last vote being 8-2.
“While (Holbrook’s) letter is emotional, it is in direct contradiction to her own testimony as well as the testimony of other eyewitnesses, given under oath and subject to cross-examination, more than two decades ago,” Daidone said last year.