Ohio woman convicted in teen’s murder released on Christmas Day

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DAYTON, Ohio — An Ohio woman who drew celebrity support for her claims of innocence in the slaying of a teenage girl has been released after 22 years in prison.

WHIO-TV reports Tyra Patterson, now 42, was freed Monday, Christmas Day.

Patterson was convicted in the 1994 murder and robbery of 15-year-old Michelle Lai. She was one of five people charged with killing Lai and robbing her sister and three other girls.

Patterson did not fire the shot that killed Lai, but under Ohio law accomplices can get the same punishment as killers.

Celebrity supporters of her innocence claims included documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, actress Alfre Woodard and “Mad Men” TV show creator Matthew Weiner.

Patterson was granted parole in October. She was being held at the Northeast Pre-Release Center in Cleveland.