"Keith's new attorneys -- who include veterans of the legal team that successfully won Joe D'Ambrosio's freedom after 21 years on death row -- have also raised important questions about the photo array that a survivor of the slaughter used to identify him. It was prepared by officers who knew Keith was a suspect and included a picture of him that was larger than any others. These are exactly the kinds of tainted procedures that a new bipartisan Ohio law was designed to prevent."
EDITORIAL: KEVIN KEITH: THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER;
BACKGROUND: On the evening of February 13, 1994, Marichell Chatman, her daughter Marchae, and Marichell’s aunt Linda Chatman were shot to death at the Bucyrus Estates Apartments in Bucyrus, Ohio. Richard Warren, Marichell’s boyfriend, and Marichell’s young cousins, Quanita and Quinton Reeves, were also shot but survived. On February 15, 1994, Kevin Keith was arrested for these shootings. By May 31, 1994, Mr. Keith was sentenced to death for this crime. From crime to sentencing, only three-and-a-half months passed. In spite of his alibi and no conclusive forensic evidence proving his involvement, Mr. Keith was convicted in 1994 and sentenced to death. In 2007, after all his allotted appeals were exhausted, new counsel took on Mr. Keith’s case. Upon investigating, counsel discovered new evidence for Mr. Keith that supported what Mr. Keith was saying from day one – he is actually innocent. The new evidence proves that the primary evidence used to convict Keith was flawed. The eyewitness identification testimony by a surviving victim was improperly influenced. Thirteen years after he was convicted, Mr. Keith discovered that one of the State’s “witnesses” does not actually exist. At Keith’s trial, the police had testified about a fictitious person and attributed a statement to her in order to bolster the shaky identification testimony of the surviving victim. Mr. Keith’s new evidence further implicates an alternative suspect who told a police informant that he was paid to carry out the murders for which Keith is scheduled to die. The police were aware of the statements by the alternative suspect, but no one turned them over to Keith’s counsel. Kevin Keith has thus far failed to persuade the state's clemency board or the courts to stop his execution which is set for September 15, 2010.
Four weeks from today, Kevin Keith is scheduled to die. The state of Ohio plans to put the 46-year-old Canton native to death for the 1994 murders of three people -- one of them a child -- in Bucyrus. He was found guilty just three months after the killings and has exhausted his judicial appeals," the Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial published earlier today under the heading, "Time to slow march to death," begins.
"But because its more expansive rules allow the consideration of newly uncovered evidence, the Ohio Parole Board heard a different theory about Keith's case last week than any court -- or jury -- ever has. That theory focused on an alternative suspect and was based on potentially exculpatory evidence that was not made available to the defense at the time of Keith's trial," the editorial continues.
"Keith's new attorneys -- who include veterans of the legal team that successfully won Joe D'Ambrosio's freedom after 21 years on death row -- have also raised important questions about the photo array that a survivor of the slaughter used to identify him. It was prepared by officers who knew Keith was a suspect and included a picture of him that was larger than any others. These are exactly the kinds of tainted procedures that a new bipartisan Ohio law was designed to prevent.
It is important to note that police in Bucyrus remain convinced that they arrested the right man for a drug-related execution and that Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray's office argued strongly that the conviction and sentence should be upheld during the clemency hearing.
But at the very least, the evidence presented last week ought to give the parole board -- and ultimately Gov. Ted Strickland, who has final say on its recommendations and on whether to proceed with Keith's execution -- plenty of reasons to call a timeout. Before Ohio or any other state puts someone to death, it had better be sure that person is guilty as charged.
This page has long opposed capital punishment. It has also called for a moratorium on executions while Ohio conducts a top-to-bottom review of each case on death row and how capital cases are conducted in the state. The troubling questions around Keith's case -- and his fate-- only reinforce those positions."
The story can be found at:
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be accessed at:
For a breakdown of some of the cases, issues and controversies this Blog is currently following, please turn to:
Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog; email@example.com;