Ohio governor commutes death sentence of condemned killer of 3 who claimed innocence

By Andrew Welsh-huggins, AP
Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ohio gov spares killer who claimed innocence

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has spared the life of a condemned killer who says he is innocent of a 1994 shooting that killed three people, including a 4-year-old girl.

Strickland says he believes Kevin Keith is likely guilty of the killings but says he’s troubled by evidence used to convict Keith.

Strickland questions some of the eyewitness testimony against Keith and says he’s bothered that other suspects weren’t fully investigated.

The move by the Democratic governor overrides last month’s decision from his parole board, which unanimously recommended against clemency.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A lawyer familiar with the decision says Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has commuted the death sentence of an inmate who claims innocence in a triple slaying.

The attorney tells The Associated Press that Strickland will announce Thursday that he has commuted Kevin Keith’s death sentence to life without parole.

The attorney spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement has not been made public by Strickland.

Keith was scheduled to die Sept. 15 by injection for the 1994 shooting deaths of three people, including a 4-year-old girl.

Strickland’s office would not comment.

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