Ken Richey to Be Freed After 20 Years on Ohio's Death Row
When I last checked in on Kenneth Richey, the British citizen was 40 years old and had been imprisoned in Ohio since he was 22. He had just had his death sentence overturned but not been released, even though not only did he not commit the crime, it is likely there was no crime and the fire he was accused of setting was accidentally started.
Amnesty International visited Richey on death row and said he was treated like a rabid animal. Amnesty described Richey's case as “one of the most compelling cases of apparent innocence that human rights campaigners have ever seen.”
The Government appealed to the Supreme Court which remanded the case for reconsideration of procedural issues. In August, 2007, his conviction was set aside again. The 6th Circuit opinion is here (pdf).
Yesterday, the TimesOnLine reported Richey is about to be released. He'll be home for Christmas. In a "no contest" plea bargain, Richey will get time served.
“The State wanted him to plead guilty and he would not do that. They have agreed to drop murder, to drop the arson and took the most basic minor face-saving deal of no contest. There was nothing left for them to fight about.”
Mr Richey, who is a British and an American citizen, will plead no contest to attempted involuntary manslaughter, child endangering and breaking and entering tomorrow. He is expected to be sentenced to time already served.
Richey's case attracted many prominent supporters abroad, including Tony Blair, the Pope, the European Parliament and Amnesty International.
Alistair Carmichael, a Scottish MP who had campaigned for Mr Richey’s release and visited him on death row, described the news as a “tremendous result”.
“The reality of somebody who is kept locked up in a cell for 23 hours a day for 19 years is quite mind-blowing,” he said. “It is a dreadful, inhumane and dehumanising system. If one man is off it, then remember there are hundreds of people in America still enduring that dreadful situation.”
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