CLEVELAND (WJW)– The FOX 8 I-Team captured exclusive video of a convicted killer walking out of the Cuyahoga County Jail since he’s been given a new trial.
It marked the latest turn in a 30-year fight for justice, and it’s also become a love story.
John Tiedjen walked out of jail on Thursday with a chance to clear his name after spending more than 30 years behind bars for murder. It was a moment he thought would never come.
“First of all, I want to thank God, of course. And, my attorney,” Tiedjen said.
Tiedjen went to prison for killing his roommate. A judge sent him away for 18 years to life.
But, last month, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Dick Ambrose granted him a new trial saying investigators withheld evidence.
Now, Tiedjen is under house arrest and he plans to marry the sister of the man police say he killed. We asked him how does something like that develop in a case like this?
“Against all odds. God put us together,” Tiedjen said.
“He asked me to marry him on New Year’s Eve, and I said, ‘Yes’. The type of connection we have, people are not going to understand,” said Crystal Strauss, his fiancée.
Cuyahoga County prosecutors have argued that 30 years ago, they convicted the right guy. They even wrote up an appeal more than a 1,000 pages long outlining the evidence. But, again, a judge recently ruled the trial was unfair.
While the court fight started decades ago, the release from behind bars is a new beginning. Prosecutors said Tiedjan gave conflicting stories about the killing. He has repeatedly told the I-Team he didn’t do it.
Late Thursday, he talked about what he wants to do now. Tiedjen said he wants to start a business. He’s concerned about his retirement.
Court records show one appeal by prosecutors has been denied. We’ll keep an eye on what this means for the new trial.
New chapters getting written in the story of the court case, the story of the second chance and the love story.