Ohio man John Tiedjen's marriage to Crystal Struas made headlines. there are reasons to be. After all, he was previously convicted of murdering his bride's half-brother. That was in 1987 and he was serving a death sentence for the crime.
However, this June, his murder conviction was overturned and the court granted him bail. Days before that, Tiedjen, who is under house arrest, made it official and got married to Struas in a private ceremony.
Tiedjen walked out of the jail on July 22, 2021 after spending 32 years behind bars. The wedding ceremony was officiated by his attorney. The couple thanked God for bringing them together. Straus has said that she believes Tiedjen did not kill her brother. First hearing of the retrial will be held on August 31.
Tiedjen Convicted in McGary Murder Case
Tiedjen was convicted in the murder case of Brian McGary in 1989, two years after he allegedly killed him. McGary was Tiedjen's roommate and was found dead in their apartment with a stab wound and a fatal gunshot wound to the head. Tiedjen was detained on suspicion and after an intense interrogation, Tiedjen signed a statement and confessed to have shot McGary in self-defense.
However, in the recent years, he started telling that it was a suicide and that he did not kill McGary. Hearing this, McGary's sister Struas wrote a letter to Tiedjen, who was serving his jail term that she had forgiven him. Tiedjen replied to her letter, clarifying that he had not killed McGary. Speaking to News 5 Cleveland Tiedjen said: "And I wrote her a letter back and I said I didn't do it, take a look at this stuff. I believe in God too, and I know things about it, but I didn't do it."
She said that she believed him and both started exchanging letters to each other in recent years. They are said to have discussed McGary's killing and Tiedjen's conviction. Tiedjen has maintained his innocence. Straus told the media that she knows that her decision to be with Tiedjen might not have gone down too well with many. But she said that she loved him a lot. "I love him obviously, if I didn't love him I would not be sitting here with him," she said.
Letters to Straus
After writing letters for months, Tiedjen is said to have proposed to her on New Year's Eve in 2020. At that time the couple was not even sure if Tiedjen would be granted a retrial. "He asked me to marry him on New Year's Eve, and I said, 'Yes'. The type of connection we have, people are not going to understand," Straus said.
Sharing details about the case, Tiedjen's attorney stated that crime scene photos and police reports not submitted during his first trial have cast doubt on his guilty verdict. However, the county prosecutors are sure that they can put Tiedjen behind bars again because they believe he killed McGary.
Speaking to News 5, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office said that it still has a solid case. Cops told that they have an evidence of Tiedjen asking a friend to dispose of the gun that killed McGary. Whereas, Tiedjen's attorneys argued that the evidence hinted at McGary committing suicide.
Straus expressed he faith in the legal system. "We'll get through this. It's going to be a challenge, there's no doubt about it," she said.