Amnesty concern over 'another Kenny Richey' as death row Scot arrives home

John Spirko: another Kenny Richey?

One of the first things Kenny Richey did after his release this week was refer to other people on death row in Ohio who he believes are innocent - he mentioned 20 in number.

He specifically mentioned the case of John Spirko, which has striking parallels with his own:

* Spirko has been in jail for 25 years, 23 of them on Ohio’s death row

* Like Richey, there is no physical or forensic evidence linking him to the crime. In fact there’s evidence that Spirko was actually meeting his parole officer at the time the crime took place

* Amnesty International has taken up Spirko’s case, as they did with Kenny Richey, expressing serious concern about the reliability of his conviction and the fact that neither his trial lawyers nor the jury had access to evidence that contradicted the prosecution’s theory of the case

There is one striking difference between the two cases - John Spirko is due to be executed on 24 January, just a couple of weeks after Kenny Richey’s release.

At Edinburgh Airport today to welcome Kenny Richey home, John Watson, Amnesty’s Scottish Programme Director said:

“I am delighted to see Kenny Richey safely back in Scotland.

“While we must remember the tragic loss suffered by the family of Cynthia Collins, Kenny should never have had to suffer the shoddy justice that he has over all these years.

“Unfortunately our concerns over the death penalty are not over. The first thing Kenny did as a free man was to highlight the case of John Spirko, who’s set to be executed in Ohio despite similar flaws in his conviction that led to Kenny Richey’s release.”

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