- John Tiedjen was convicted of the murder of Brian McGary, brother of Crystal Straus, in 1987.
- Now facing a retrial after a successful appeal, Crystal Straus and John Tiegjen married each other.
- Tiedjen’s lawyer, Kimberly Corral, married the couple, with paralegals acting as the witnesses.
An Ohio woman married the man convicted of killing her half-brother 32 years ago when their unlikely love blossomed after writing to the prisoner to say she forgave him.
In 1989, Tiedjen was jailed for the murder of Straus’ brother, but the conviction was overturned in June when it was revealed that prosecutors did not hand over relevant crime scene photographs at the time of the trial, The Times reports.
Meanwhile, Tiedjen, 57, awaits a retrial and is under house arrest but has managed to find time to marry Crystal Strauss the sister of the man he was convicted of murdering.
Tiedjen’s lawyer, Kimberly Corral, married the couple, with paralegals acting as the witnesses.
“It was a beautiful little ceremony,” Corral said, according to The Times.
How they met
In 2016, Straus, 45, sent a letter to Tiedjen to tell him that she forgave him of his crime, but their ensuing communication convinced her of his innocence.
“We both had something in common, the loss of Brian,” Tiedjen said in an interview with The Washington Post. “We started talking, and it just sparked.”
On New Year’s Eve 2019, Straus and Tiegjen declared their love for one another – and then Tiedjen asked her to marry him.
Before joining the couple as man and wife, Corral said: “You have been through an incredible journey to get here and as we know there is a lot of road ahead of us. We are not there yet and as the system fights against us, you two, hand in hand, fight together.”
The death of Brian McGary
Brian McGary, Straus’s half-brother, had lived in Tiedjen’s family home from the age of 15, and they were best friends.
In April of 1987 McGary, 18, was found dead, with fatal stab and gunshot wounds from Tiedjen’s rifle.
Tiedjen said they had returned after a heavy night of drinking and smoking cannabis and that he had passed out.
Tiedjen was arrested four days after and was interrogated by a detective who – according to the Plain Dealer newspaper – told Tiedjen he would smash his head against a table, falsely stated he had Tjedjen’s DNA on the gun, and told him he could get a better deal if he would admit he shot McGary in self-defense.
A number of appeals have been launched by Tiedjen and his legal team, but in 2014, an attorney for Tiedjen obtain the police case file that showed that police took 87 crime scene photographs of McGary’s death – but prosecutors only submitted 10 for use at the trial.
Defense attorney Corral has questioned whether the police doctored the crime scene and moved Tiedjen’s glasses to the floor to make it seem like a struggle ensued.
Another theory the police did not consider was suicide, said Tiedjen’s lawyers. The photos show a piece of paper sticking out of McGary’s pocket. Corral believes it could be a suicide note, The Times reported.
A date has not yet been announced for Tiedjen’s new trial.