OTTAWA — Kenneth Richey’s long-running vendetta against a former Putnam County judge has him facing felony charges and another possible trip to prison.
Richey, 55, was indicted Wednesday by a Putnam County grand jury on 12 counts of retaliation, four counts of violation of a protection order and one count of tampering with evidence. All the charges are third-degree felonies.
Richey was previously on Ohio’s death row from charges connected to the 1986 death of a Columbus Grove 2-year-old girl in a fire. He is an inmate at the Putnam County jail and is awaiting trial on similar charges connected to alleged social media threats he made against former Putnam County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Basinger.
The Columbus man verbally threatened Basinger, who was a prosecutor on his case, in 2012 and was convicted of a single count of retaliation, a third-degree felony. He was sentenced to three years in prison.
A grand jury in November 2019 charged Richey with three counts of retaliation, felonies of the third degree, one count violating a protection order and one count tampering with evidence.
A trial was previously scheduled for March but was postponed after Richey’s former attorney took a new position. A new trial date was scheduled for July 20
According to court documents, a Putnam County resident received a Facebook Live video with Richey making verbal threats against Basinger and said he would kill the man who he said “took his life away.”
Putnam County Sheriff Brian Siefker said Thursday the allegations behind the newest charges filed against Richey are the result of a thorough investigation by a special prosecutor assigned to the case by the Ohio Attorney General’s office.
The prosecutor “went back through some Facebook posts and found more threats” that Richey had made against Basinger, Siefker said.
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. Richey spent 21 years in prison before his conviction was overturned on appeal. He pleaded guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter and was credited with time served and released.
While living in Mississippi in 2012, he verbally threatened Basinger for the first time.