Scotsman Kenny Richey was on death row for 21 years until his conviction was overturned and he was finally released in January 2008.
Kenny was convicted of starting a fire in which a two year old girl died. He was sentenced to death in January 1987. His sentence was overturned once in 2005 and then again in 2007, but he was not released until 2008.
‘Even though this new evidence may establish Mr Richey’s innocence, the Ohio and United States constitution nonetheless allow him to be executed because the prosecution did not know the scientific testimony offered at the trial was false and unreliable’.
Ohio Prosecutor Dan Gershutz
Kenny had to spend 18 years on death row in Ohio for a crime he did not commit, before a US appeal court overturned his conviction in 2005. The prosecution appealed to the Supreme Court, which asked the appeal court to re-examine its findings because of a procedural error.
Kenny was held on death row for another two years. Finally, in 2007, his conviction was overturned and a retrial was ordered. He was finally released and returned to Scotland in January 2008.
At his trial, the prosecution presented dubious forensic evidence that Kenny deliberately started the fire. They claimed that he was trying to kill his ex-girlfriend by setting alight the building where he was supposed to be babysitting.
Further scientific evidence showed that the decision to consider the fire an arson was based on ‘unsound scientific principles’ and that it was most likely started by a carelessly discarded cigarette.
Kenny’s release shows what we can achieve together, but there are many more prisoners who need our help.
Reprieve is delighted by the news that Kenny Richey, a Scot who has been on Ohio’s death row for more than 20 years, has had his conviction overturned on appeal. The appeal was decided by the United States Court of Appeal for the Sixth Circuit, the second highest court that can hear the case.
Human rights organisation Reprieve has expressed dismay at the news that the United States Supreme Court has put Kenny Richey, a Scottish man wrongfully convicted of murder in Ohio, USA, back on death row.