My name is Laurence Mathieu-Leger and I am an award-winning producer, director, and editor as well as a wife and mother of three.
I became aware of Tyra Patterson's case in 2015 while working as a senior producer at the Guardian US. At the time, I had set off to do a short documentary project, but once on the ground, I realized there was a bigger story to tell.
With the Guardian’s support, senior reporter Ed Pilkington and I set out on a 6-month investigative journey, during which we dug deep into the Tyra Patterson case to expose America's dysfunctional criminal justice system, one that disproportionately incarcerates people from marginalized communities.
Our 3-part interactive series published in 2016 received a World Press Photo Award and the story gained international attention. When one of the victim’s sisters came forward later that year to plead for Patterson’s freedom, we followed up on the story.
Governor Kasich ultimately granted Tyra Patterson clemency in 2017, and she walked out of prison on Christmas day of that year.
Since then, Tyra and I have developed a powerful bond. She is heavily involved in the arts community of Cincinnati, specifically advocating for the hiring of artists directly impacted by incarceration and pathways for entrepreneurship. She also uses art to educate people on the issues of social, racial, gender and economic justice. Now that she is free, she can finally tell her story.