Scottish man tries to escape execution
A Scottish man who has attracted support from George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, the Pope, and British and European parliamentarians will make a final attempt in court today to prove his innocence and escape execution.
Kenny Richey, aged 38, been on death row in Ohio for 16 years.
He was born and brought up in Edinburgh and moved to the US as a teenager with his American father in 1982.
Four years later, in June 1986, he was arrested for the murder of two-year-old Cynthia Collins, who died in a fire in Columbus Grove, Ohio.
The prosecution alleged that Richey had set fire to the apartment of his ex-girlfriend because he was angry that her new lover was sleeping there.
But the apartment above also caught fire, killing the toddler. Richey has always denied setting fire to the building.
His appeal at the federal appeals court today represents possibly his final chance to avoid the death penalty. Although the hearing is due to last only an hour, the decision on his case will not be announced by the three-judge panel for several weeks.
While the case has attracted little attention in the US, there has been an active British-based campaign to free him, supported by Reprieve and Amnesty International, which has described Richey's situation as "the most compelling case of innocence on death row".
Supporters claim Richey was badly represented by an inexperienced lawyer at his original trial and that scientific evidence was not challenged.
They also say there is evidence that the fire could have been an accident and that the child had been known to play with matches.
Richey narrowly escaped execution eight years ago; he had already said goodbye to his mother and been shaved in preparation for the electric chair when the stay of execution came through.
"I'm not nervous," Richey told the Press Association from the Mansfield correctional institution in Ohio. "Whether they kill me or set me free, I just want it to be over ... I want the opportunity to prove my innocence. I want a fair trial, and I'm not going to give up until I get it or they kill me. I'm prepared to die for what I believe in. It's one or the other. There's no in-between for me."