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USA: Kenny Richey case - blow for death row Scot - reaction

“It brings Kenny closer to execution, setting the clock ticking faster than ever.

“Mr Richey has already endured over 17 years on death row and we have deep concerns about his case that go beyond our usual opposition to the death penalty. Indeed, his case is one of the most compelling cases of apparent innocence that human rights campaigners have ever seen.

“Kenny has been the subject of a poor quality trial without a jury, while important forensic evidence later discovered was never heard at his trial.

“It is now imperative that our government makes representations on behalf of this British national for whom time is fast running out.”

Earlier this week (9 June 2004) the Ohio Supreme Court declined to consider the question of whether the original trial had made a legal mistake in imposing the death sentence.

Advice had been sought by a lower Ohio court, the Sixth Circuit Federal Court of Appeal, which wanted clarification on the use of so-called ‘transferred intent’ theory in prosecutions in Ohio in 1987.

A key factor in Kenny’s death sentence had been the application of transferred intent, whereby the prosecution contended that he had intended to kill an ex-girlfriend and had accidentally killed a two-year-old girl.

Mr Richey has consistently denied any part in a fire that resulted in two-year-old Cynthia Collins’s 1986 death, and has maintained his innocence throughout 17 years on death row.

He has also refused a plea bargain that would have secured him a lesser sentence. Meanwhile important forensic evidence that may help prove that the fire was accidental has never been properly heard.

Amnesty International, the UK-based organisation Reprieve, numerous MPs and Scottish MSPs as well as his Scottish wife Karen Richey are urging the Ohio state authorities to allow Kenny Richey the opportunity to have this fresh evidence heard. This may mean that his case is re-tried, that he is accorded a new evidentiary hearing or a re-sentencing hearing is allowed.

Kenny Richey himself said:

“Eventually, in my lifetime or otherwise, those who conducted my prosecution and defence at trial, will admit at least to God that I was an innocent man.”

Karen Richey said:

“We’re not asking for favours, we’re asking for justice.”

Pressure is growing on the UK government to support Mr Richey’s case in line with the government’s policy of opposing the death penalty in all instances - Amnesty International is urging the government to act.

Earlier this year Amnesty International’s Kate Allen visited Kenny Richey on death row at Ohio’s Mansfield Correctional Facility as part of its ongoing campaign for justice in the Scotsman’s case.

Relevant information

More about our campaign against the death penalty:

Reprieve: /b>

Kenny Richey Campaign: /b>

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