CLEVELAND-- The FOX 8 I-Team uncovered a push for a new trial in a murder case from 1989. At the heart of it, a video including a reconstruction of the crime scene.
John Tiedjen is doing 18 years to life in prison for killing a roommate considered a brother. Now, he’s trying to prove the shooting was a suicide.
Brian McGary died inside a home on East 57th Street in Cleveland.
A friend of Tiedjen said he has spent upwards of $100,000 fighting to clear his name. He’s waiting for a judge to hold a hearing on whether he can get a new trial.
A company called The Evidence Room produced a video, including crime scene photos and a reconstruction of the scene. The video tries to show why the evidence reflects the killing was a suicide, and it raises questions about evidence possibly withheld or altered.
"Everything will come out and it will be shown that John never committed this crime. And he needs to be released and be a free man," said Me-chele Gwinn, a longtime friend of Tiedjen.
But Cuyahoga County prosecutors argue this is just a desperate attempt to get out of prison, not based on facts.
“Our position on the case remains unchanged.," said Kristen Sobieski with the prosecutor's office. “We are confident in the conviction as it stands."
Meantime, prosecutors have filed court papers, saying Tiedjen told police he did the shooting in self-defense. Then at trial, they say he denied shooting anyone. In an appeal, prosecutors said they saw another self-defense argument.
In a letter to the I-Team, Tiedjen wrote, "I was wrongfully convicted…Over the past 10 years, I have become legally blind…Newly discovered evidence…proves my innocence.”
While Tiedjen has done nearly 30 years in prison, the I-Team checked and he’s been before the parole board seven times.
Gwinn said she believes he’s been denied parole, at least in part, because he won’t admit to any wrongdoing.
We’ll be watching for the hearing on the request for the new trial.