Late appeal move gives hope to Scot on death row for 18 years

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The Independent US

A British man on death row in the United States for starting a fire in which a young girl died has won a late appeal that may save him from execution.

Kenny Richey, 39, who was born in Edinburgh, was one hearing away from lethal injection, but his case has now been referred by federal judges to the state of Ohio's Supreme Court to look again at whether his conviction was safe. The federal appeals court which ordered the review suggested Richey's conviction for capital murder might not be sound and, if so, he should be tried again or released.

Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat MP who has campaigned on behalf of Richey, said it was his "first real glimmer hope". Mr Carmichael, who represents Orkney and Shetland, called on the Government to send a lawyer to support Richey.

Richey, who moved to the US at the age of 18, was sentenced to death after being convicted of arson and the aggravated murder of Cynthia Collins, who was two years old, in 1986. He was alleged to have set fire to an apartment block where his former girlfriend, Candy Barchette, was sleeping with a new lover.

Richey, who was drunk at the time and had a broken arm in a sling, was accused of breaking into a greenhouse, stealing paint stripper or petrol and then climbing on top of a shed to break into the flat above Ms Barchette's. The prosecution said he disabled the smoke alarm and set fire to the carpet.

Richey's supporters say he was represented at trial by an inexperienced lawyer.