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Published: Thursday, 9/13/2007

Judge recuses himself from Richey retrial

OTTAWA, Ohio Putnam County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Basinger has recused himself from hearing the retrial of Kenneth Richey for the 1986 death of a 2-year-old Columbus Grove, Ohio, girl.

Judge Basinger was an assistant prosecutor in Putnam County when Cynthia Collins was killed in a fire that Richey is accused of setting in an attempt to kill his ex-girlfriend.

Richey, now 43, was convicted and sentenced to death.

He has maintained his innocence and spent years appealing his conviction, which was overturned last month.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled that Richey must be retried or released from Ohio s Death Row because his trial attorney failed to adequately challenge questionable arson evidence at his first trial.

In a letter sent Tuesday to Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Moyer, Judge Basinger asked that a visiting judge be assigned to the case. I previously acted as assistant prosecuting attorney on this death penalty case and therefore cannot hear the matter as judge, Judge Basinger wrote.

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