Thomia Hunter, A Cleveland Woman Who Killed Her Abusive Ex In Self-Defense, Was Just Granted Clemency
Thomia Hunter will be released from prison after Ohio Governor John Kasich granted her clemency on Monday, according to Cleveland.com.
Kasich’s formal release letter was written on Monday, but was not received by Hunter’s legal team until Wednesday. She will be released on July 15 after she successfully completes a re-integration program run by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
The overturning of her life sentence will set her free after she’s spent the last 15 years in prison, stemming from the 2005 murder conviction of Andrew Harris, her ex-boyfriend. Hunter had no evidence of criminal history prior to the June 17, 2004 incident where she stabbed Harris 22 times in self-defense.
Hunter testified that she and Harris were childhood sweethearts and dated throughout the majority of her young adult life. However, the relationship was toxic and Hunter said she suffered at the hands of Harris on multiple occasions. Hunter said she finally broke up with Harris in 2003 after two unsuccessful attempts, but remained in close contact.
On the night in question, Hunter admitted on the stand that she and Harris were heavily drinking then returned to her apartment where she cooked them a meal, took a bath and fell asleep. She said she woke up to Harris performing oral sex on her, the two engaged in sex and went back to sleep. But moments later she Harris was screaming at her in the bedroom, accusing her of cheating. During a long tussle, she told the jury she was injured with a knife, threatened, beaten, choked and sustained hot sauce being poured into her eyes. Hunter grabbed a steak knife in retaliation and stabbed Harris multiple times, dealing him the deadly cut to his femoral artery, located in the thigh.
After a 90-minute deliberation, the jury convicted her of murder, Cleveland.com reports.
Local advocates banded together over the last 15 years to advocate for Hunter, who suffered a life occurrence that many women and men know all too well. In June, the Ohio Parole board recommended her release after finding evidence of the abuse she sustained which was not presented during her trial.
Hunter’s case is just one of many in Ohio, and one of thousands around the world, where women are serving jail time in the fight to save their life at the hands of their abusers.
Hunter will still be monitored after her release, due to the parole restrictions she will face. But, her story will hopefully inspire parole boards across the nation to review the convictions of victims who suffered a similar fate.