Crystal Straus marries John Tiedjen Cleveland Ohio man previously convicted of murdering woman’s brother as released convict now awaits a new trial.
Causing tongues to wag are reports of an Ohio woman who married a man convicted of killing her half-brother in the 1980s. The couple exchanged vows over the weekend, with the groom remaining on house arrest while awaiting a retrial.
John Tiedjen and Crystal Straus of Cleveland began their
strange courtship when she wrote him a letter saying she forgave him for killing Brian McGary in 1987.
‘And I wrote her a letter back and I said I didn’t do it, take a look at this stuff,’ Tiedjen, 57, told News 5 Cleveland. ‘I believe in God too, and I know things about it, but I didn’t do it.’
Tiedjen had his murder conviction thrown out in June after a slew of images and missing police reports failed to be submitted in the original trial, Boston 25 reported. The newly released man who had served 32 years, remains under house arrest as he now awaits a new trial.
That said, there are no guarantees if he will be found not guilty the second time around.
‘I had no powder burns, no gunshot residue, no blood, no cuts, no scrapes, nothing on my person or me or my clothing.’
‘We’ll get through this,’ Straus said, according to News 5. ‘It’s going to be a challenge, there’s no doubt about it.’
The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office thinks it still has a solid case, telling News 5 it has evidence Tiedjen asked a friend to dispose of the gun that killed McGary. Tiedjen’s attorneys have argued evidence points to McGary having committed suicide.
McGary, who was Tiedjen’s roommate, was found dead in their apartment with a stab wound and a fatal gunshot wound to the head, reports said. After intense interrogation, Tiedjen signed a statement that said he shot McGary in self-defense, Boston 25 stated.
Tiedjen maintains his innocence, pointing out that ‘I had no powder burns, no gunshot residue, no blood, no cuts, no scrapes, nothing on my person or me or my clothing.’
Tiedjen asked Straus to marry him on the phone on New Year’s 2020, when they weren’t sure he’d ever get out of prison, the Washington Post reported.
‘It’s definitely not a fairy tale,’ Tiedjen’s defense attorney, Kimberly Kendall-Corral said of the romance, according to the Post. ‘But it’s so genuine.’
‘I love him, obviously. If I didn’t love him I would not be sitting here with him,’ said Straus, who married Tiedjen at his Cleveland home this weekend.
The Ohio Innocence Project has freed 33 wrongfully convicted Ohioans since its inception in 2003. Reed told News 5 he supports the exploration of new rules of criminal procedure that would help give a specific path for people submitting innocence claims to help with motions for a new trial.
Reiterated Kendall-Corral, ‘We need to give defendants a full and fair opportunity to present evidence that wasn’t available at the time of trial, whatever the reason was.’
An initial hearing in Tiedjen’s re-trial effort is set to take place in Cuyahoga County Court on August 31.