Bryce's only chance for freedom is to receive clemency from Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker.
Justice For Bryce
Bryce should not be sentenced to die in prison because of a repugnant, homophobic prosecution that asserted his then lesbian identity caused him to kill. Further, as the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation stated in support of Bernina’s clemency petition, “It is unjust to continue to incarcerate Mata for an act taken in self-defense and preventing what [he] believed to be imminent sexual assault, given [his] extensive past trauma of sexual harm.” State representatives of Illinois today have a duty and moral obligation to right these egregious wrongs and correct this manifest injustice by commuting Bryce’s life sentence.
Had the death penalty not been sought, Bryce would have been eligible for a sentence of between 20 and 60 years. If Bryce’s claim of self defense was accepted, or the mitigating factors identified and credited, he would likely have been found guilty of lesser charges, including second degree murder warranting a sentence between 4 and 20 years. If that had been the case he would have already been released.
Even apart from any self-defense claims, after 23 ½ years in prison, Bryce has now served nearly a decade longer than the average person serves for a murder conviction in the United States. he has earned the respect of her peers and always held a job, gaining numerous skills that would make him a contributing and employable member of society if he is released.
Clemency is Bryce’s only available recourse to seek relief from his profoundly unjust and disproportionate life sentence. His request for clemency was submitted to the Governor on January 25, 2021 and included 21 letters of support from community organizations, friends, and supporters who committed to provide housing as well as financial, social, and emotional support to him following release.
At a hearing in June 2022, Bryce’s team made the case for his freedom, accompanied by dozens of supporters.
Now, Gov. Pritzker has the power to commute his sentence to time served and bring him. Please Join us in calling on Gov. Pritzker to bring Bryce home.
The #FreeBryce team and supporters at clemency hearing in July 2022.