Woman married the man convicted of murdering her brother

Woman who married the man convicted of murdering her brother protests his innocence and says she loves him with ‘all her heart’ – but admits his retrial for the killing will be a ‘challenge’

  • John Tiedjen was convicted for murdering Brian McGary in April 1989 aged 25 
  • He spent 32 years behind bars but the conviction was overturned this June  
  • McGary’s half-sister Crystal Straus tied the knot with Tiedjen earlier this month  
  • Insists husband is innocent as he awaits retrial for murdering her half-brother

A woman who wed the man convicted of murdering her brother protested her husband’s innocence as she said she loves him with ‘all her heart’. 

Crystal Straus, of Ohio, married John Tiedjen, 57, earlier this month after he was freed on bond awaiting a retrial for murdering her half-brother Brian McGary, 18, in April 1989.   

Tiedjen was McGary’s stepbrother and roommate and at the time of his fatal shooting and stabbing the men had spent a night drinking heavily and smoking weed.  

Appearing on This Morning today, Straus said that while they acknowledge their relationship will be ‘challenging’, she is certain of her partner’s innocence and thinks their relationship will be ‘stronger in the long run’. 

Crystal Straus married John Tiedjen, 57, earlier this month after he was freed on bond awaiting a retrial for murdering her half-brother Brian McGary, 18, in April 1989

Appearing on This Morning today, Straus said that while they acknowledge their relationship will be ‘challenging’, she is certain of her partner’s innocence

‘There’s two people that lost their life that night, my brother and unfortunately Johnny lost 32 years of his life,’ she said.

‘I love Johnny with all my heart. I’m not saying this relationship will be easy, this relationship will be extremely challenging, it’s a huge rollercoaster with the court dates, we’ll get through this and it will just make us stronger in the long run.’ 

Tiedjen was 25 years old when McGary was found dead in the apartment they shared and served 32 years for the murder.  

He confessed to killing McGary in an act of self-defense after an intensive interrogation by detectives. However, in 1987, Tiedjen claimed his innocence for the murder charge by saying that McGary had committed suicide at the time.


Straus’s romance with Tiedjen began in 2016 with a letter she wrote to him in prison in which she offered forgiveness in her brother’s death. The pair started talking, and eventually, exchanged vows at Tiedjen’s home (pictured L-R), where he is currently on house arrest while awaiting a new trial.

Straus’s romance with Tiedjen began in 2016 with a letter she wrote to him in prison in which she offered forgiveness in her brother’s death. 

When he replied insisting he was innocent, the pair started talking, and eventually, exchanged vows at Tiedjen’s home, where he is currently on house arrest while awaiting a new trial. 

She recalled: ‘One day I was driving to the lake, and he came into my mind and I wrote him a letter saying I forgave him and he ended up writing me back and saying “Thank you for the letter, but I did not do this”. 

Tiedjen’s original conviction was overturned in June this year when it was revealed prosecutors did not hand over relevant crime scene photographs at the time of the trial.  

Straus is certain of her husband’s innocence, insisting: ‘As far as him being my brother’s killer, that’s not an accurate statement. That title is not accurate, he obviously did not kill my brother, that is why there is a new trial.’

Straus protested her husband’s innocence to hosts Eammon Holmes and Ruth Langsford as she said she loves him with ‘all her heart’

Straus is certain of her husband’s innocence, insisting: ‘As far as him being my brother’s killer, that’s not an accurate statement. That title is not accurate, he obviously did not kill my brother, that is why there is a new trial

Speaking of her brother Brian, Straus said: ‘He was a little rebel; he was a tom-boy, he liked motorcycles and he was a rebel teenager.’ 

Tiedjen added: ‘He was my best friend, we rode motorcycles together, did everything. ‘[if] you’ve seen him you’ve seen me.’

When asked how it felt to be accused and convicted of the crime, he went on: ‘Couldn’t believe it ever happened like that. I didn’t do the crime; how do you end up in prison for something you didn’t do?’ 

The couple admitted that it’s been difficult convincing their families of their union, but Tiedjen insisted that he has done ‘nothing to be forgiven for’. 

‘There’s mixed emotions on both sides of our family’, said Straus. ‘It’s a hard thing to come to terms with with. Everything going on, it’s kind of mind blowing for them. But I’ve said people are not going to completely understand our relationship. 

Tiedjen added: ‘It’s not about forgiveness here, I had nothing to be forgiven for. I didn’t do the crime. We put it in God’s hands, he’s made everything come to light.’ 

Source: Read Full Article