Kenneth Richey Appeals Death Sentence

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) -- Lawyers for a death row inmate who has attracted attention from English and Scottish citizens say they will present new evidence Wednesday in a federal appeals court to prove he did not start a fire that killed a 2-year-old girl.

Supporters believe Ken Richey, a Scotland native, was wrongly convicted of starting the 1986 apartment fire that killed Cynthia Collins of suburban Columbus Grove.

While his case has generated limited interest in Ohio, his name is familiar in Britain. Filmmakers have produced two documentaries that question his guilt. British and Scottish citizens and politicians have written thousands of letters, saying he's wrongly imprisoned.

Richey's lawyers say they will present new evidence to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati that supports his innocence. Attorney Ken Parsigian said he hopes written testimony by an Australian arson expert will sway the judges. The expert has said that accelerants could not have been used to start the fire, as the state contends. Richey's attorneys also think that new scientific evidence in the case will undermine the state's evidence.

The state attorney general's office said in a statement that "at least six courts over 17 years have examined the Kenny Richey case and agreed he set the fire."

The movement behind the Kenneth Richey Campaign For Justice began in his native land long after he was convicted of burning the apartment. Richey had moved to the northwest Ohio village to be near his family and look for work.

Posted 5/6/2003      10:57 AM     LAH