In the late 1990’s Nathan Graham was a well known drug dealer in Findlay, OH.
He had many run-ins with the Findlay Police Department and the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and was in and out of trouble from his early teens. Local law enforcement officials consistently tried to establish criminal cases against him and were mostly unsuccessful in doing so.
After Findlay was unable to get anything worthwhile from criminal informants, the Lima City Police Department in conjunction with the Allen County Drug Task Force was able to make an arrest thanks to multiple controlled buys from Graham’s “safe house” in Lima, OH.
Nathan quickly made bail and was back in business until he wound up at a party on Tiffin Ave. in Findlay where he found himself having to make decisions on the fly — decisions that would affect the trajectory of the rest of his life and his freedom.
A troubled 14-year old girl with a penchant for unruly behavior and running away found herself forever linked with Graham. After hours of partying and illicit drug use a group of girls who had became enraged by the flirting of the teen with their boyfriends began beating on the girl.
At some point the boyfriends joined in — hitting, kicking, stomping, and burning the girl with cigarettes. Nathan was faced with the decision of calling the police and risk further legal peril for being at the party or attempting to minimize the beating while he sought a way out for himself and the girl.
He chose the latter, continually reassuring the girl that he was there to help her and when the opportunity arose that he would get her out of the situation. Nathan decided to go back to his rural Hancock County home in Rawson, OH with his then girlfriend and a co-defendant, Samantha Byerly after the girl had been tied up and placed in a trunk — later the car which was driven by Philip Cramer pulled into the driveway and the girl was taken into Graham’s shed/apartment where the torture continued.
At the shed the girl was then tortured and sexually violated before being taken out to a woods and placed into a drainage tile and buried in bricks and debris in frigid winter temperatures. As he continually did throughout the night, Graham once again reassured her that he would be back to get her as soon as he could but warned her that Cramer a Crips gang leader would kill them both if he caught Nathan trying to rescue the girl.
After returning to Graham’s shed, Cramer, his girlfriend Kathy Emmons, Scott Wears and Christopher Knight all went back to Findlay and Nathan and Samantha immediately returned to the burial site to pull the girl out of the drainage pipe.
Samantha and Nathan gave her dry clothes and fed her soup to warm her up. They offered to take her home, but the girl asked to stay with them until morning.
A party goer reported what had went on at the party to the police and that the girl had been taken to Graham’s residence. Authorities raided the property as the three slept and the girl was recovered.
Hancock County prosecutor, Robert Fry despite the girl giving multiple statements saying that Nathan had saved her and did not hit, kick, stomp, burn or harm her in any way decided to paint Graham as the ringleader of the assault and proceeded with a win at all cost prosecution — so much so that he resorted to not disclosing key interviews with the victim that exonerated Graham and hiding the witnesses location to prevent her from being served a subpoena to testify in court.
The state maintained that since they did not plan to call the victim to the stand that they did not know of her address even though at the time she was essentially in the state’s custody as a foster child in a Rawson home.
Today the victim’s story remains remarkably consistent with the statements she gave 20 years ago — something that she shares with only Nathan. Every other witness statement has changed over time with many of them being inconsistent immediately.
The case against Graham was built on the prosecution offering Graham’s co-defendant’s sweetheart deals to paint him as the leader of the cruel punishment. As such, justice has been denied to the victim herself as well as Nathan who has spent the past 20 years serving a sentence for a crime that he did not commit.
All the information is easily verifiable thanks to public records and the victim’s unwavering statements through the years. Thanks to an uneven judicial system in many respects and the apparent malicious prosecution by Fry and the State of Ohio, it will be very difficult for Graham to successfully argue his way out of prison without the help of an attorney.