EDINBURGH Kenneth Richey is back behind bars in his Scottish homeland on an assault charge just seven months after walking off Ohio s death row into a world he hadn t seen in more than 21 years.
He is awaiting a bail hearing in Edinburgh Sheriff Court on a charge of assault to severe injury that could, if he is tried and convicted, carry a maximum prison sentence of up to five years. The former U.S. Marine is accused of severely beating 63-year-old Ian McCall last month.
Neither Mr. McCall nor Richey s attorney, Peter Winning, could be reached for comment yesterday.
Richey, 44, spent 21 years in Ohio prisons, most of it awaiting execution for the 1986 death of 2-year-old Cynthia Collins in Columbus Grove in Putnam County.
He had been convicted of aggravated murder for setting the apartment fire that killed the child, but he eventually was freed on a plea deal after a federal appeals court undermined the state s arson case that convicted him.
A dual U.S.-Scottish citizen, Richey received a celebrity s welcome upon his January return to Edinburgh, where there is no death penalty. He was dubbed the Death Row Scot, securing exclusive media deals for his story that put the equivalent of about $80,000 in his pocket.
Today, he s unemployed and living on government support.
Richey did not enter a plea on Friday when he was taken into custody, according to Joanne Logan, assistant communications officer for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in Edinburgh. In addition to jail time, the charge could carry a fine, compensation for the victim, community service, or probation.
Ken Parsigian, the Boston attorney who succeeded in having Richey s murder conviction overturned, said he stayed in touch with Richey for a time after his release. He said it s his understanding that Mr. McCall was attacked by a masked man, but he still identified his attacker as Richey.
Mr. Parsigian recalled that he advised Richey upon his return to Scotland to find a job.
I knew enough about Kenny to know that, if left to his own devices and just sitting around, it would be easy for him to fall into dwelling on the years lost, Mr. Parsigian said. He had a history of wanting to seem like the life of the party, which is not a particularly good thing, and wanting the focus on him a bit.
He needs to have structure in his life, Mr. Parsigian said. He was living with complete structure for 22 years. Every minute of every day was structured. You give a person like that $80,000, someone who is bitter with reason, and it s not a particularly good recipe for getting back into connection with life.
Putnam County Prosecutor Gary Lammers said he wasn t surprised to learn of Richey s latest arrest.
I m not surprised, given the fact that his psychological profile, which was part of our file, showed his propensity for criminal behavior and this type of violent behavior, he said.
With the state of Ohio largely unable to pursue its original arson-murder theory, Richey accepted a deal in January in which he pleaded no contest to attempted involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment, and breaking and entering in Putnam County.
The aggravated murder and aggravated arson charges were dismissed. He was sentenced to time served and released on the condition that he promptly leave the country.
He s had a very tough time, said Karen Torley, the Glasgow, Scotland, woman who championed Richey s bid for freedom from across the Atlantic. She spoke with Richey by telephone yesterday.
There have been a lot of media stories written about him, many of them with no truth in them whatsoever, she said. But they make good stories, and that has him upset.
Marc Calcutt of Reprieve UK, an organization that worked for Richey s release, said Richey s behavior and problems outside prison walls are a continuation of what he went through behind them.
He was a victim of a miscarriage of justice, and that doesn t end when you walk out the prison doors, he said.