OTTAWA, Ohio – A Scotsman released from prison four years ago after spending two decades on Ohio's death row is going back to prison for threatening a judge who prosecuted his original case.
A visiting judge sentenced Ken Richey on Monday to the maximum of three years. He pleaded guilty last month to a felony retaliation charge.
The target of his threat, Putnam County Judge Randall Basinger, said Richey had made many threats against him and others, The (Toledo) Blade reported.
Richey "has never taken responsibility for any of his actions, has blamed others for the crimes that he commits, and consistently misrepresents the events of his criminal activity," Basinger said, according to The (Findlay) Courier.
Investigators said Richey was at his home in Tupelo, Miss., when he left the threatening message for Basinger, warning that he was coming to get him. Richey said he'd been drinking heavily and was depressed.
He apologized on Monday for making the call.
Basinger was an assistant prosecutor in the 1980s when Richey was accused of starting a fire that killed a 2-year-old girl in 1986.
Richey was sentenced to death and spent 21 years on death row. He denied any involvement in the fire and became well-known in Britain, where there is no death penalty, as he fought for his release. Among his supporters were several members of the British Parliament and Pope John Paul II.
Following years of appeals, a federal court determined that his lawyers mishandled the case, and his conviction was overturned. Putnam County prosecutors initially planned to retry him, but Richey was released in 2008 under a deal that required him to plead no contest to attempted involuntary manslaughter. He also was ordered to stay away from the northwest Ohio county and anyone involved in the case, including Basinger.
Richey, though, carried a lifetime of bitterness over his conviction, his friends said.
He returned to Scotland in 2008 and later came back to the U.S., where he was arrested in Minnesota in 2010 and charged with assaulting his 24-year-old son. The charge was dropped after he was brought back to Ohio on the charge of threatening the judge.