When You Are not the Right Kind of Victim.
Thomia Hunter, a woman who was sentenced to life in prison for, the 2005 killing of the abusive man who had trafficked her into prostitution, has reportedly been granted clemency by Ohio Governor John Kasich. Hunter will be released in June 2019.
Hunter’s lawyer, Tiffany Smith, Hunter received the news on Wednesday (Jan. 9) via a letter from Kasich’s office.
Hunter was originally sentenced to life in prison in 2005 for murdering her trafficker after enduring abuse from him for years. The Ohio Parole board recently discovered new information confirming that Hunter’s trafficker had viciously attacked her on that fatal night, which led them to believe she had been suffering from battered woman syndrome at the time of the murder. That information had reportedly not been revealed during her trial.
Yet during her trial, Hunter testified that Harris, her abuser, attacked her and accused her of cheating on him, so she acted out of self-defense, per Cleveland.com. Hunter said that Harris attacked her first, beating her, choking her, pouring hot sauce in her eyes, and cutting her with a knife, Cleveland.com reports.
Hunter, 41, was scheduled to have her first parole hearing in May, but in June 2018, the Ohio Parole Board found that Hunter showed signs of battered woman’s syndrome that did not present during her trial and recommended that Kasich commute her sentence, Cleveland.comreports. The Ohio Parole Board said that Harris’ wounds were “minimal” and that Hunter acted out of genuine concern for her life.
Hunter’s release is contingent on her completion of a reintegration program provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
While she is grateful to the governor for the commuted sentence, Hunter and Smith hope that her case can shine a light on victims of domestic violence and abuse and how that can lead to violent offenses. Hunter’s clemency comes only days after Cyntoia Brown was granted clemency after being convicted for killing the man that forced her into sex work.