Source AP ©

US-British citizen wants to clear his name

A U.S.-British citizen will get a new trial after two decades on death row in Ohio and is not interested if in a plea deal.

"Even if they said to me that I could come home to Scotland tomorrow if only I would admit my guilt, I would refuse," Kenneth Richey told The Lima News.

"This is a matter of principle, pride and honor. I am an innocent man and I will never admit to something I did not do. Not for anything or anyone," he said.

Richey was convicted of starting an apartment fire in 1986 that killed 2-year-old Cynthia Collins in northwest Ohio. He was sentenced to die and came within an hour of being executed 13 years ago.

He spent years fighting the conviction before a federal appeals court threw out his death sentence last month, saying Richey received ineffective counsel in his trial. The court also gave prosecutors 90 days to retry Richey or release him.

Prosecutors decided last week to try him again on aggravated murder, aggravated arson and child endangering charges and again seek the death penalty.

Richey, now 43, wants to go to trial to clear his name, The Lima News reported.

"This is what I have waited for, for so long. I want the world to know I am an innocent man and they will know this by the end of the trial," he said.

The newspaper asked Richey a list of questions, which was relayed to him by e-mail through his fiancee, Karen Torley. She then provided the newspaper with his answers.

Prosecutors said Richey set fire to the Columbus Grove apartment to get even with his former girlfriend who lived in the same building and had a new boyfriend. The couple escaped the fire.

Richey, who grew up in Scotland, has steadfastly maintained his innocence and drawn support for years, including from members of the British Parliament and the late Pope John Paul II.

He said he will leave the country if he is set free.

"I am coming home to Scotland as soon as I can," he said. "That is my home, it is where I belong."

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