OTTAWA — The jury trial for Kenneth Richey who is accused of threatening former Putnam County Judge Randall Basinger on social media has been delayed.
A trial was previously scheduled for March 30 and 31 and April 1. However Richey’s former attorney, Alex Treece, has been offered a position with the prosecutor’s office in Putnam County.
Richey’s new attorney Greg Meyers, Ohio Public Defender’s Office, was in court with Richey Friday.
Visiting Judge Dale Crawford, Franklin County, is allowing Todd Schroeder, assistant prosecuting attorney, seven days to review the situation and decide if he wants to request the appointment of a new prosecutor for the case. If Treece were to accept the position, a conflict of interest would exist within the prosecutor’s office. Schroeder explained an outside agency, likely the Attorney General’s office, would take over the prosecution of the case.
Crawford has essentially put the trial date on hold until a decision is made.
A grand jury previously charged Richey with five counts, including three counts of retaliation, a felony of the third degree, one count violating a protection order and one count tampering with evidence.
Putnam County Common Pleas Court Judge Keith Schierloh was disqualified from participating in further court proceedings. A trial date was originally scheduled for the end of this month, but was vacated to allow the visiting judge and attorney to review the case.
According to court documents, a Putnam County resident who wished to remain anonymous received a Facebook Live video with Richey making verbal threats against Former Putnam County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Basinger and said he would kill the man who he said “took his life away.”
The video was turned over to the prosecutor by Putnam County Sheriffs Office and an arrest warrant was made. A warrant was issued from Franklin County for Richey on Sept. 27 and he was booked into the Putnam County Jail on a $500,000 bond.
Richey was prosecuted in 1986 on charges of aggravated murder, arson and child endangerment in the death of Cynthia Collins, 2, in Columbus Grove, who died in an apartment fire. In 1987, he was found guilty and sentenced to death row.
He had dual British-U.S. citizenship, and the case received international attention in places where the death penalty is not allowed. A letter against his execution was signed by more than 100 members of the British Parliament and the late Pope John Paul II.
Richey spent 21 years in prison, most of the sentence on death row. His conviction was overturned on appeal, as the court was concerned with how his defense handled the case.
Richey plead guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter and was credited with time served and released.
After his release, he returned to Scotland for a short period and then returned to the U.S. where he moved to Mississippi. While living there, he verbally threatened Basinger in 2012. He was arrested and indicted on a single charge of retaliation, a third-degree felony. He was convicted and given a maximum sentence of three years in prison.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.