Disappointed in Richey’s behaviour

Kenneth "Kenny" Richey

Kenneth “Kenny” Richey

Disappointed in Richey’s behaviour: I read in the news that Kenneth Richey, a former death row inmate from Ohio, who was released on January 7, 2008, has been in trouble with the law. A bit of history here, is in order.

In 1987, Kenny was sentenced to death for the murder of two years old Cynthia Collins, and was moved to Mansfield Correctional Institution, Ohio. He was tried before a 3-judge panel after his attorneys advised him that he may not get a fair trial before a jury since the murder involved a child. Cynthia died of smoke inhalation.

The prosecution based its case against Kenny on transferred intent: Kenny allegedly had the intention to kill his former girlfriend, Candy Barchet, and her new boyfriend, by setting fire in the apartment above theirs. Common sense would question why Kenny would choose the apartment above his ex-girlfriend’s since flames tend to go up instead of down.

The apartment above Kenny’s ex-girlfriend’s belonged to Hope Collins and her daughter Cynthia. Hope had left Cynthia alone that night to go to a party. The prosecution later claimed she asked Kenny to babysit and that instead, he left Cynthia alone. The prosecution also admitted at trial, there was no evidence Kenny intended to kill Cynthia and that several times he tried to save her but, was held back by flames, smoke, and ultimately, by the fire department.

Initially the local Fire Chief and the Ohio State Fire Marshall ruled the fire accidental. The prosecution disagreed and hired its experts. The authorities were convinced the fire was arson, started by igniting paint thinner and gasoline on the carpet. Kenny’s trial attorneys failed to have their own forensic tests done. In 1996, arson experts Andrew T Armstrong and Richard L.P. Custer reexamined the pieces of evidence and concluded the original findings were based on unsound scientific principles that are not acceptable in the forensic science community for the investigation of arson-related fires today. You can read that here.

Since his release in the beginning of 2008, Richey has been arrested many times. January 13th of this year, he was arrested for allegedly hitting his son Sean Richey in the back of the head with a baseball bat. In March 2009, he was accused of but later cleared of violently assaulting and robbing an elderly man over a £200 debt to a pub landlord. And later in the month, he was in trouble over a lady’s stolen handbag.

I do not think that after 21 years of incarceration and death row, it was a good idea for Richey to be released without extensive counseling. He shows all the signs of a man not adjusted to and highly uncomfortable dealing with freedom on his own. Without professional help to adjust to a changed society, former inmates may have the greatest trouble letting go of prison mentality. And that is exactly what Richey shows here.

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  1. […] Dougherty and Willingham cases show exactly the same issues that plagued the Kenneth Richey case. Richey was on death row in Ohio for arson with transferred intent. Richey allegedly had the […]