Innocence groups back condemned Ohio killer of 3
By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS (AP) –
April 6, 2010
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Innocence groups from around the country on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of an Ohio man sentenced to die in September for fatally shooting three people.
The national Innocence Network and a group of eyewitness testimony experts filed papers Monday asking the court to review the evidence against death row inmate Kevin Keith. The network, which has filed only four similar requests in the past two years, says it considers the evidence in Keith's case compelling.
Keith's lawyers say courts have never heard the full amount of evidence they say could exonerate him.
That includes an alternate suspect who boasted he was going to carry out the killings, an enlarged photo of Keith used during a picture lineup and witnesses who say Keith was elsewhere.
"Without the intervention of this court, a man whom the state has deprived of a fair trial will be put to death by that same state," Innocence Network lawyers said in their filing.
Keith, 46, was sentenced to die for killing three people, including a 7-year-old girl, in a 1994 shooting in northern Ohio that also wounded three others.
Police and prosecutors allege Keith opened fire on the group in retaliation for a drug arrest that he blamed on a snitch related to the victims.
Keith has exhausted his regular state and federal appeals.
A message was left with the Ohio Attorney General seeking comment. Prosecutors in Crawford County have previously said Keith is attempting to repackage already rejected claims.
The shooting happened Feb. 13, 1994, at an apartment in Bucyrus, about 65 miles north of Columbus.
Prosecutors say Keith entered the apartment and sprayed it with gunfire, killing Marichell Chatman, 24; her 4-year-old daughter, Marchae; and the child's aunt, Linda Chatman, 39. Marichell Chatman was the brother of an undercover police informant whose efforts led to a four-count indictment against Keith for selling drugs, according to prosecutors.
Three others were shot that night but survived: Richard Warren, who would testify against Keith at trial; Quanita Reeves, 7; and her brother Quinton Reeves, 4.
Keith's public defenders say they uncovered evidence that bolsters a theory first presented at Keith's trial: that there was another suspect.
That person was a suspect in a series of pharmacy robberies around the time of the killings. He testified at trial that he told surviving family members that the shootings might have been in retaliation over the informant.
Keith's attorneys found additional information in the files of an Ohio Pharmacy Board investigator who had been looking into the pharmacy robberies. In those files, the other suspect said before the shootings that he had been paid $15,000 to "cripple" the informant.
Prosecutors say the claims aren't any different than what came up at trial.
Keith's attorneys also say a detective perjured himself in describing how a survivor identified Keith.
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