I am preparing to go back to Court. I will present all new evidence proving my innocence, that the Prosecutor knowingly withheld prior to my Trial.
On March 17, 2022 Matt went before the Parole Board for the fifth time. The Hearing began with the "Victim's Advocate”, Parole Board Member Ms. Kovachs stating, "We know you maintain your innocence, we don't care about that". The Hearing ended with the Parole Board noting "We appreciate how you have conducted yourself throughout your incarceration". After deliberation, Matt was advised that all five members had voted in favor of him being released. He was told "You're going home!".
This began a 30-day period, required by law to "notify" the prosecutor, the judge, members of the victim’s family, etc. As virtually the entire family of Ms. Johnson had been supportive of Matt, he was not unduly concerned.
On June 25, 2022 Matt was advised that an objection had been received from the son of the victim, and this triggered the requirement for a "Full Board Hearing", where all nine of the Parole Board members would preside. Matt was permitted to be represented by counsel and have some of his supporters speak in support of his release. The victim’s family were also given the opportunity to speak at the Hearing.
After being granted parole, Matt was offered a job as a Paralegal by a lawyer in Michigan. This lawyer offered to represent Matt at the Hearing, and, after contacting the Parole Board, was told that the Hearing was "just a formality to address the objection". The objection was received from the victim’s son Patrick, since Matt "had not accepted responsibility". This is not "new information" as the Parole Board had already acknowledged that they had no problems with Matt maintaining his innocence.
The Full Parole Board Hearing was held on Tuesday, August 9, 2022 at 2:00pm.
Ida Fowler, the life-long friend and sister-in-law of Ms. Johnson was listed as a supporter of Matt and speaker at the Hearing. However, she was denied permission to appear by the Parole Board, the day before the hearing, without any explanation.
At the Hearing, the volume was reduced at Matt's remote video-terminal, to the point that he could barely hear proceedings. His supporters were repeatedly cut off from the audio and/or video, and the entire electronic remote hearing was a farce.
Despite this, the statements of Matt’s supporters were presented. The Board presented the video statement of someone named "Duane" who said he was the son of Ms. Johnson, and who simply stated that Matt had not accepted responsibility.
The Board went into "executive session" stating that they would return with their decision in 30 minutes, at 3.50pm.
After deliberations, the Parole Board returned to announce their unanimous 9:0 decision against Matt’s release and ordered another 3-year continuance.
The Parole Board had not turned the monitor on for Matt, when the announcement was made. He sat in the room until 6.55pm awaiting the decision, with the local Parole Board Liaison emailing and calling the main office repeatedly, until someone finally responded. So Matt was the last to know the outcome of the Parole Board Hearing by almost three hours!
No reason nor explanation was provided by the Parole Board with regards to their decision.
After being denied DNA testing for a second time, Matt sought re-sentencing from the illegal and void sentence which had been imposed. This attempt was to allow Matt the opportunity to re-present the evidence, and have the courtroom filled with media and (real) witnesses to draw attention to the case. Unfortunately, the Ohio Supreme Court changed the law on "void sentences", during the pendency of Matt's attempt and it was shut down.
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