"I see freedom": First day on the job for woman released from prison after 23 years

First day on the job for woman released from prison after 23 years (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Tyra Patterson, who was released from prison after serving 23 years for murder, even though she didn't pull the trigger, started her new job on Tuesday.

She's working in the legal field. Patterson wants to give back to those who fought for her.

On Christmas morning, Tyra Patterson walked free after 23 years. She was 19 when she was convicted in the murder and robbery of a Dayton, Ohio teen.

New evidence, the dead teen's sister, and old jurors helped the Ohio Justice and Policy Center 's five-year fight for her release.

On Tuesday, she started working at the center in Cincinnati with Executive Director David Singleton.

"This is my desk my office,” Patterson said proudly.

On the wall of her office hangs Tyra Patterson's certificates that she earned in prison. She's a paralegal, among other things. Through her office, she will help other returning citizens.

"It's important to humanize us, to make us feel equal in society,” said Patterson. “I never had a job other than Wendy's when I was younger.”

"She was in prison 23 years for something she didn't do, the dreams that she realized were a long time in the making. Delighted to have her as a colleague, thriving in a place that will allow her to soar,” said Singleton.

"We have principal offenders who pull the trigger who spend less time than Tyra,” said Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters.

Prosecutor Joe Deters went to the governor to help free Tyra. Now, drug forfeiture money will pay for her to speak in Hamilton County Schools about how drugs contributed to her downfall.

"He took a chance on me. His kindness will not go in vain. I will be one person he can be proud of,” said Patterson.

On the office wall is a saying: “All things are possible. Believe.”

For Tyra, it's much more than a quote. It's her new life.

Tyra says the biggest change in 23 years is technology. She's trying to figure out how to use her cellphone.

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