OTTAWA — “If I wanted him dead, the son of a bitch would be dead.”
Thus began Kenneth Richey’s rant against the criminal justice system in general and Randall Basinger in particular before being sentenced Friday to the maximum prison term of 12 years for making threats against the one-time Putnam County official.
Richey, convicted by a jury last month of four counts of making threats against Basinger, a former Putnam County prosecutor and judge, took verbal swipes at his attorney, the judge who presided over the case and the charges on which he was convicted.
Richey, the former death row inmate who during the past 30 years made multiple threatening statements directed at Basinger, said he has now for the third time in his life “experienced the asinine excuse that Putnam County passes off as justice.”
Richey was originally convicted in 1987 of murder and other charges associated with the death of 2-year-old Cynthia Collins in an apartment fire in Columbus Grove. A three-judge panel sentenced him to death, where he spent more than 20 years before being granted a new trial after a federal court ruled he had not received adequate legal representation.
He claimed his constitutional rights had been “abused” throughout the case and alleged that Judge Dale Crawford, who presided over the trial by appointment of the Ohio Supreme Court, had denied his right to a fair and impartial jury by refusing to grant a change of venue in the case.
Crawford, in turn, called Richey the “worst form of offender from which the public needs to be protected.”
Jurors in July convicted Richey of making unlawful threats against a Basinger, convicting him on four third-degree felony charges. Basinger testified to what he considered credible threats against himself and his family that were made by Richey on four specific occasions in 2019.
Basinger spoke again during Friday’s sentencing hearing, calling his nemesis a “psychopath” who is “preoccupied with death and blood.”
The former Putnam County official, who now works as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Allen County, said he received 13 death threats from Richey in total against himself, his children and his grandchildren. Basinger said he was speaking out against the advice of family members.
“My children are urging me to give up my career and move away from the area, but (as a prosecutor) I repeatedly urge my victims to stand up and confront violent offenders, and I felt I should do the same. The criteria for a maximum sentence is present, and I ask the court to impose the maximum, consecutive sentence,” Basinger said.
After Crawford did just that, Basinger said he was “happy.”
“I’m satisfied with the sentence. Mostly I’m glad that it’s over with, on behalf of myself and my children,” Basinger said.
Richey was convicted in 2012 of making similar threats against Basinger and served a three-year prison term for those offenses. In May of this year, Richey was charged with 12 counts of retaliation, four counts of violation of a protection order and one count of tampering with evidence related to more recent threats. Prior to the start of the trial, Prosecutor Micah Alt dismissed the protection order charge, and several other counts were dismissed by Crawford after the state had rested its case at trial.
Crawford called the indictment poorly crafted.
Defense Attorney Greg Meyers said Richey will appeal his verdict.