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Man off death row facing new charge

BAXTER, Minn. - Former Ohio death row inmate Kenny Richey has been charged with felony assault in Minnesota for allegedly hitting his son with a baseball bat.

Richey, 45, will appear in court on Jan. 19. He was arrested Jan. 6 at the Baxter home of his son, Sean Richey, and charged with felony second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. Richey was freed on $3,000 bond.

According to a criminal complaint cited by the Brainerd Dispatch yesterday, Sean Richey told police his father attacked him after the pair had been wrestling playfully.

Locally, Richey was convicted in Putnam County of setting an apartment fire in 1986 that killed 2-year-old Cynthia Collins of Columbus Grove. He spent more than 21 years in Ohio prisons, most of it awaiting execution.

The prosecution maintained that Richey set the fire to kill an ex-girlfriend and her lover in the apartment below but inadvertently killed the girl instead.

He was freed from death row after a federal appeals court in 2007 found that his lawyers failed to adequately challenge questionable arson evidence used to convict him. It ordered the county court to retry him or let him go.

As part of a deal that involved Richey pleading guilty to lesser charges of attempted involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment, and breaking and entering, the aggravated murder charge was dismissed and he agreed to return to his native Scotland.

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