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Published: Friday, 4/22/2005

Petro asks U.S. court for time on Richey


COLUMBUS - Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro yesterday asked the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to stay its decision requiring the state to either retry Kenneth Richey for murder or release him from prison within 90 days.

Mr. Petro plans to seek an appeal of the court's decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Richey, 40, who has dual U.S.-United Kingdom citizenship, has been on Ohio's death row for 18 years for the arson death of Cynthia Collins, a 2-year-old Columbus Grove girl. A three-judge panel in Putnam County Common Pleas Court determined that Richey set the fire to kill his former girlfriend and her lover in the apartment below but ended up killing the young girl instead.

"If the 6th Circuit should grant the stay, it would stop the 90-day clock," said Petro spokesman Kim Norris.

Richey would remain on death row at Mansfield Correctional Institution in the meantime.

The entire 6th Circuit bench decided Monday not to reconsider a 2-1 January ruling by a panel of the court that, among other things, determined the state failed to meet a requirement under Ohio law at the time that the child was Richey's intended victim.

"This is spiteful and vindictive," said Richey's Boston attorney, Ken Parsigian.

"It's not surprising. It's OK to indulge every possible argument, but don't complain when other people do it. They've argued in this case that Richey won't accept finality. Well, right back at ya'."

The case attracted the attention of the British Parliament and the late Pope John Paul II and has been the subject of British documentaries.

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