Death row Scot out of hospital

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The Independent US

A British-American man who spent 20 years on Ohio's death row and was expected to be freed this week left a hospital yesterday and returned to jail, his brother said.

Ken Richey had planned to enter a plea agreement on Thursday for his role in setting a fire that killed a 2-year-old girl, but hours before the court hearing that could have freed him, he was taken to hospital with chest pains. He had planned to leave for his native Scotland today.

Tests revealed he had about 60% blockage in his heart and will need an operation, said Steve Richey, who spoke to his brother this afternoon.

Ken Richey, 43, wants to have the operation after he is released and not delay his return to freedom, his brother said.

Richey's death sentence was overturned earlier this year when a federal appeals court determined in August that his lawyers mishandled his case. He was to plead no contest to attempted involuntary manslaughter, child endangering and breaking and entering and be sentenced to time already served in the 1986 death of a toddler in an apartment fire, his lawyer Ken Parsigian said.

Prosecutors said he set the fire to get even with his former girlfriend, who lived in the same building as the girl who died.

Richey has refused to say that he started the fire and rejected previous plea offers that would have linked him to the fire, Parsigian said.

For now, Richey's plea hearing has been postponed until January 8. But Parsigian said it could be held sooner.

Richey has a history of heart problems, and his family thought he may have become overwhelmed on a day he had anticipated for two decades. He had suffered at least one heart attack in jail and had been complaining about his heart hurting a couple weeks ago, his brother said.

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