Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ohio Governor Commutes Death Sentence

Kevin Keith was Scheduled to Die in 10 Days for the Murder of Three People

This week, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland commuted convicted multiple murderer Kevin Keith's death sentence. He was to be execution on September 15, 2010.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Keith, a cocaine dealer, was convicted of murdering two women and a four-year-old girl by spraying a Columbus apartment with bullets as revenge against a drug informant.

"It is my view, after a thorough review of the information and evidence available to me at this time, that it is far more likely that Mr. Keith committed these murders than it is likely that he did not," Governor Strickland said in a statement.

"Yet, despite the evidence supporting his guilt and the substantial legal review of Mr. Keith's conviction, many legitimate questions have been raised regarding the evidence in support of the conviction and the investigation."

"I have commute Mr. Keith's sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Should further evidence justify my doing so, I am prepared to review this matter again for possible further action."

Governor Strickland has carried out 16 executions since taking office in 2007. However, he commuted the last two out of three killers scheduled for execution. He spared the life of Richard Nields in June, but allowed Roderick Davie to be executed in August.

This also marked the second time Governor Strickland's decision was contrary to the parole board's recommendation in a capital case. According to the Dispatch, he allowed the execution of Jason Getsy to go forward in August 2009 even though the board voted to spare his life. In making this decision, the governor rejected an 8-0 recommendation from the parole board that Keith should be executed.

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