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Kevin A. Keith - Ohio
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Thread: Kevin A. Keith - Ohio

  1. #1
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Kevin A. Keith - Ohio




    Bucyrus man, formerly on death row, won't get new trial

    BUCYRUS, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio appeals court won't allow a new trial for a man whose death sentence was commuted to life in prison by former Gov. Ted Strickland.

    The state's Third District Court of Appeals this week rejected the appeal by Kevin Keith, who was convicted of killing three people in Bucyrus in 1994.

    Strickland spared Keith's life in September just days before he was scheduled to be executed.

    The former governor said he questioned evidence used in the conviction but that he also believed Keith committed the crimes. Crawford County Assistant Prosecutor Cliff Murphy tells the Telegraph-Forum newspaper in Bucyrus that the appeals court made the right decision in saying no to a new trial.

    http://www.wtol.com/Global/story.asp?S=13970538

  2. #2
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Kevin Keith's defense team mum on dive findings

    Kevin Keith was spared the death penalty last fall, but his attorneys are still trying to prove his innocence.

    Bob Britt, a member of the convicted triple murderer's defense team, brought a group of certified divers to a pond near the railroad tracks off Livingston Avenue in Crestline on Jan. 3. No word of what the divers found, if anything, has been released.

    The murder weapon in the slayings has not been reported as recovered.

    Keith, a Crestline resident, was convicted of killing three people and wounding three others during a shooting spree at Bucyrus Estates on Feb. 13, 1994.

    "We are actively pursuing all avenues to prove Kevin's innocence," said Andrew King, one of Keith's attorneys from the Ohio Public Defender's Office.

    Crawford County Assistant Prosecutor Cliff Murphy wonders what Keith's attorneys would hope to gain if the gun had been found in the Crestline pond.

    "I don't know how much evidence could be obtained forensically from a gun if it has been emerged in water for the better part of 16 years," Murphy said.

    According to Crestline Police Chief Tim McClaran, the only item turned into his department after the search was an old, rotted-out BB or toy gun.

    "It was their investigation and we were not involved, but were aware of it," McClaran said. "I don't know what they found."

    McClaran said the pond is owned by CSX Railroad.

    Keith was convicted in May 1994 for killing Marichell Chatman, her 4-year-old daughter Marchae and her aunt Linda Chatman. Keith also was convicted of shooting Marichell Chatman's boyfriend Rick Warren, along with her niece, 7-year-old Quanita Reeves, and her nephew, 4-year-old Quinton Reeves.

    Keith's latest appeal for a new trial was denied this week.

    Former Gov. Ted Strickland commuted Keith's death sentence to life in prison just days before his Sept. 15 execution date.

    http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/...102120301/1002

  3. #3
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    May 18, 2013

    Keith case has cost taxpayers more than $209,000

    U.S. Supreme Court denied killer's latest appeal in April

    BUCYRUS — Taxpayers have footed the bill for more than $209,000 in the prosecution and defense of triple murderer Kevin Keith.

    According to records obtained by the Telegraph-Forum, the Office of the Ohio Public Defender has spent $85,890.38 defending the man who was convicted of killing three people on Feb. 13, 1994.

    Prosecutors said Keith walked into a small apartment on Marion Road and opened gunfire, killing three people and wounding three others. Killed were Marichell Chatman, 24; her 4-year-old daughter, Marchae; and the child’s aunt, Linda Chatman, 39.

    The former Crestline resident has filed a series of appeals. The most recent action to the United States Supreme Court, which denied his bid for an appeal in April. Keith, 49, is serving a life sentence at the Trumbull Correctional Institution in northeast Ohio.

    Then Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland reduced Keith’s death sentence to life without parole in September 2010. The Ohio Parole Board voted 8-0 against commutation.

    Initially, Keith retained Columbus attorney James Banks for his trial in Bucyrus. After his conviction, Keith began using the services of the Office of the Ohio Public Defender to appeal the case.

    The Office of the Ohio Public Defender is the state agency responsible for providing legal representation and other services to people accused of a crime who cannot afford to hire their own attorney.

    The department issued a statement regarding the case and the time it spent on it.

    “An attorney from the Office of the Ohio Public Defender first entered an appearance on Kevin Keith’s case on April 25, 2007, so OPD has been representing Kevin for about six years. In July 2007, after being on the case for just over two months, OPD attorneys uncovered incriminating material regarding an alternate suspect in the crime for which Kevin was sentenced to die.”

    The statement continued, “In this case, as in nearly all other death penalty cases in Ohio, far too few resources are invested in the early stages of the case — during the initial investigation, trial and mitigation and in the immediate post-trial efforts of direct appeal and post-conviction. It is during this time period closest to the crime that the money spent on death penalty cases can be most effective: while evidence is fresh and witnesses are available. But Ohio drastically shortchanges resources at this critical early stage.

    “Because so little is invested in the early stages of death penalty cases, attorneys representing clients who face an execution date often find themselves scrambling to find evidence, hire experts, present claims to courts and develop the client’s case for clemency. This was certainly true in Kevin Keith’s case.”

    In addition to the OPD, Crawford County records show the case has cost $123,125.49. Total cost to the public is at least $209,294.87, according to records and research conducted by the newspaper.

    Some costs remain unaccounted for. For example, no records exist for the time that investigators spent on the case in the early years, according to OPD spokesperson Amy Borror.

    Records show fines alone total $105,000 owed to Crawford County Common Pleas Court.

    Rachel G. Troutman, an assistant state public defender, has served as Keith’s primary legal counsel for the past several years. The billable hours for his attorney fees add up to $29,525.

    Seventeen personal services contracts for Keith’s defense total another $45,154.68. The single biggest item is $11,652.50 for work done at the crime scene.

    The remaining charges are for forensic audio, eyewitness identification, an innocence expert, scuba diving search and a tire track expert. These are for the years 1999 and 2007-10.

    A court reporting charge of $3,566.25 for August 2010 also is included.

    http://www.bucyrustelegraphforum.com...taxpayers-200K

  4. #4
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    Kevin Keith trying to get new trial

    As a result of a last-minute reprieve from then Gov. Ted Strickland in 2010, Kevin Keith narrowly escaped being executed for a 1994 triple murder. Now Keith’s attorneys have filed paperwork in Crawford County Common Pleas Court that could result in a new trial on those same charges.

    Keith was found guilty by a Crawford County Common Pleas Court jury in June of 1994 of shooting to death 24-year-old Marichell Chapman, her 4-year-old daughter Marchae, and Marichell’s aunt – 39-year-old Linda Chapman – in a Bucyrus apartment. Three others, including two young children, were injured.

    Judge Nelfred Kimerline sentenced Keith to death at the conclusion of that trial. After an exhaustive appeals process failed to find in Keith’s favor at any level, including a unanimous decision by the Ohio Parole Board rejecting clemency, Strickland commuted Keith’s sentence to life without parole less than two weeks before his scheduled execution.

    Keith’s attorneys have filed a motion for leave to file a motion for a new trial. That motion was filed Oct. 31. The motion to leave is required because Keith’s time to submit appeals has expired. If the motion to leave is granted, then a judge may consider whether or not there is sufficient reason to grant a new trial.

    “It’s the fifth time he’s ask for such leaves and he’s been denied the four previous times,” Crawford County Matthew Crall said. “We will oppose the leave and file our own motion in a timely fashion.”

    Crall had cited the drawn out appeals process and specifically referred to the Keith case when his office agreed to avoid a trial in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without parole in January of 2015 for Donald Hoffman. Hoffman pleaded guilty to four drug-fueled murders on Labor Day Weekend of 2014.

    “I think most of the victims’ families remember the Kevin Keith case, and I think they know what those family members went through,” Crall said at the time.

    Keith’s defense team says it has a new suspect in the case, a claim made before and rejected in previous appeals. However, this time the defense is also focusing on a scientist who once worked for the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, G. Michele Yezzo. Yezzo’s contributions in the Keith case were her analysis of tire tracks and a license plate imprint in the snow at the apartment complex in Bucyrus where the murders occurred.

    Yezzo did not testify in person at Keith’s trial, but her deposition was used. Yezzo’s work is being questioned in several cases as a result of incidents in her personnel file raising questions about the objectivity of her work.

    A man convicted of murdering his wife in Norwalk has been granted a new trial because of concerns about Yezzo’s work on his case.

    Should Keith be granted a new trial, the possibility exists that the prosecution could again ask for the death sentence should Keith be convicted a second time.

    http://wbco.com/local/kevin-keith-tr...get-new-trial/

  5. #5
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    Judge denies Keiths request to ask for a new trial

    Crawford County Common Pleas Court Judge Sean Leuthold has issued his decision on the motion by convicted triple murderer Kevin Keiths attorneys for leave to file a motion for a new trial. Judge Leuthold filed his 12-page decision Friday morning and denied the motion for leave filed by Keiths attorneys on Oct. 31.

    Crawford County Prosecutor Matthew Crall had this to say about the judges decision: We agree with the courts conclusion. We did not feel the information the defendant put forth as new evidence met the burden required for a new trial and were pleased the court agreed with us.

    The motion to leave is required because Keiths time to submit appeals has expired. If the motion to leave is granted, then a judge may consider whether or not there is sufficient reason to grant a new trial. This is the fifth time Keith has filed a motion for leave and the fourth time that motion has been denied. The other time such a motion was filed it was voluntarily withdrawn.

    The previous motions were filed in August 2007, May 2010, April 2012, and October 2012.

    Keiths defense team says it has a new suspect in the case, a claim made before and rejected in previous appeals. However, this time the defense is also focusing on a scientist who once worked for the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, G. Michele Yezzo. Yezzos contributions in the Keith case were her analysis of tire tracks and a license plate imprint in the snow at the apartment complex in Bucyrus where the murders occurred.

    Yezzo did not testify in person at Keiths trial, but her deposition was used. Yezzos work is being questioned in several cases as a result of incidents in her personnel file raising questions about the objectivity of her work.

    A man convicted of murdering his wife in Norwalk has been granted a new trial because of concerns about Yezzos work on his case.

    In his decision, Judge Leuthold writes, . . . this Court does not find that the information in Yezzos personnel file constitutes newly discovered evidence that would allow for a motion for new trial.

    Furthermore, the judge notes that Yezzo was available for cross examination at Keiths original trial presided over by Judge Nelfred Kimerline and tried by then-County Prosecutor Russell Wiseman who later was elected to the Crawford County Common Pleas Court bench.

    Judge Leuthold also points out in his decision that Yezzos personnel file was available to the defense by way of a public records request at the time of trial and within the required 120-day period to file a request for new trial following the original trial.

    Keith can appeal Judge Leutholds decision to the Third District Court of Appeals.

    Keith was originally sentenced to death for the shooting deaths of 24-year-old Marichell Chapman, her 4-year-old daughter Marchae, and Marichells aunt 39-year-old Linda Chapman in a Bucyrus apartment. Three others, including two young children, were injured.

    Keiths death sentence was commuted to life without parole in September of 2010 by then Gov. Ted Strickland less than two weeks before his scheduled execution.

    http://wbco.com/local/breaking-news-...r-a-new-trial/
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  6. #6
    Senior Member CnCP Legend Mike's Avatar
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    Ohio Supreme Court denies latest appeal from Crawford Co. triple murderer

    Crawford Source

    BUCYRUS -- The Ohio Supreme Court has denied the latest appeal of convicted triple murderer Kevin Keith, according to the Crawford County Clerk of Courts.

    The local agency notified the media on Friday afternoon of that decision.

    Keith, of Crestline, was convicted in the 1994 aggravated murder of three people and the attempted murder of three more at Bucyrus Estates. He was sentenced to death.

    But just two weeks before his scheduled execution, Keith received a commutation (reduction) of his sentence by Gov. Ted Strickland in 2010. That commutation came in spite of a parole board's 8-0 recommendation to carry out the sentence.

    Three Bucyrus residents were killed in the shooting, including Marichell Chatman, 24; her daughter Marchae, 4; and Chatman's aunt, Linda Chatman, 39. Marichell Chatman's boyfriend, Rick Warren, and cousins Quanita Reeves, 7, and Quentin Reeves, 4, were wounded.

    "Once again, when the facts have been presented, the evidence still shows that Kevin Keith shot and killed Marichell Chatman, Marchae Chatman and Linda Chatman, and attempted to kill Richard Warren, Quanita Reevs and Quinton Reeves," stated Crawford County Prosecutor Matthew Crall. "This is the 35th different hearing in this case."

    The 53-year-old Keith has consistently denied he was the shooter.

    "The defendant professes his innocence," Crall noted previously. "Fortunately, every court, the Crawford County Common Pleas, the Third District Court of Appeals, The Ohio Supreme Court, the Northern District Ohio Federal Court, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court -- they have all, after carefully reviewing the facts, the procedure, and the evidence, reached the same conclusion.

    "The verdict was just and should remain."

    The recent request for a new trial involved allegations of unprofessionalism by Bureau of Criminal Investigation criminologist Michelle G. Yezzo. She performed an analysis of tire tracks and a license plate imprint made in the snow from evidence taken at the scene.

    Yezzo gave a deposition in the case which was admitted into evidence upon agreement by the parties, according to Crall.

    "The facts were presented to a jury and appellate court after appellate court has ruled their judgment must be respected," Crall said. "I have not seen or been presented any information that causes me to question the outcome of this case."

    http://www.richlandsource.com/crawfo...1199ffbf5.html

  7. #7
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    Ohio inmate claims innocence in slaying of 3, wants retrial

    By Andrew Welsh-Huggins
    The Associated Press

    COLUMBUS — From the day of his arrest in 1994 for fatally shooting three people, Kevin Keith has proclaimed his innocence. He pointed to alibi witnesses who placed him elsewhere, an alternative suspect and a host of inconsistencies in the evidence against him.

    Keith’s arguments did not stop his conviction and death sentence for killing two women and a 4-year-old girl in what prosecutors said was retaliation for his arrest in a northern Ohio drug sweep. In 2010, then-Gov. Ted Strickland commuted Keith’s sentence to life without parole, citing questions about the evidence and a “troubling” failure to investigate other suspects.

    Still fighting, Keith, now 54, has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to grant him a new trial based on evidence never heard by a jury. Keith’s lawyers say the personnel file of a state forensics investigator who worked on his case contains allegations she had a habit of providing police departments answers they wanted in cases.

    Attorneys for Keith, who is black, also say the file shows the investigator was mentally unstable and used racial slurs against co-workers.

    This evidence, attorneys argue, is among several allegations uncovered years later that a jury never heard, including:

    • An alternative suspect’s statement he was paid to “cripple” the informant responsible for the drug raid just weeks before the shootings.

    • Documents showing the same suspect was known during crimes to wear a mask similar to the one Keith was alleged to have worn that night.

    • The location of a bullet casing used to implicate Keith may have been wrong.

    “There is no way what he got in 1994 is anything close to a fair trial,” said Rachel Troutman, supervising attorney of the State Public Defender Office’s death penalty division.

    Killed in the shootings were Marichell Chatman, 24; her 4-year-old daughter, Marchae; and Marichell’s 39-year-old aunt, Linda Chatman.

    Richard Warren, Marichell Chatman’s boyfriend, survived his injuries and fingered Keith as the shooter. Keith’s attorneys say he was led by investigators to improperly identify Keith.

    Two children survived: Linda Chatman’s niece, 6-year-old Quanita Reeves, and nephew, 4-year-old Quinton Reeves.

    The prosecution says a jury already heard much of the information and came to its own conclusion, one upheld by dozens of courts over the years.

    “There is overwhelming evidence of guilt in this case,” said Matthew Crall, the elected prosecutor for Crawford County, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) north of Columbus.

    The Supreme Court is expected to decide on Thursday whether they will hear Keith’s arguments, with an announcement next week. Both sides know it is a long shot: the court takes a fraction of such petitions. Keith also has cases pending in lower courts.

    At the heart of Keith’s latest arguments is the personnel file of Michele Yezzo, a now-retired forensics analyst with the state Bureau of Criminal Identification. Keith’s attorneys first learned of the file two years ago.

    Yezzo’s “findings and conclusions regarding evidence may be suspect. She will stretch the truth to satisfy a department,” according to a 1989 memo in the file. Yezzo also had a reputation of giving police answers if they “stroke her,” according to an investigator’s handwritten notes elsewhere in the file.

    Prosecutors say lower courts properly ruled nothing in Yezzo’s personnel file would have made a difference in the outcome. They also say Yezzo was placed on administrative leave until she met with a counselor about her interactions with colleagues, but that was unrelated to her proficiency as an analyst.

    They also say Yezzo provided key evidence favoring Keith, that footprints from the scene did not match his shoes.

    Strickland, a Democrat, stopped short in a recent interview of saying Keith is innocent. But there is no question he deserves a new trial based on problems with the defense, prosecution and investigation, the former governor said.

    “Certainly the way I view this case now, it would have been tragic if Ohio had taken this man’s life,” Strickland said.

    http://www.limaohio.com/wire/state-w...-wants-retrial
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  8. #8
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    Former Ohio death-row inmate will get chance to challenge murder convictions

    CLEVELAND, Ohio — A federal appeals court is allowing a former death-row inmate convicted of murdering three people in Bucyrus to mount another challenge to his case.

    A three-judge panel from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that Kevin Keith may present evidence that prosecutors withheld information that would challenge the credibility of a Bureau of Criminal Investigation forensics analyst who testified at his trial. Keith can also argue that police in Bucyrus, about 105 miles southwest of Cleveland, intentionally did not respond to a subpoena for call logs before his trial, the panel ruled.

    Keith, 54, was convicted in 1994 of shooting and killing Marichell Chatman, her 4-year-old daughter Marchae, and Marichell’s aunt Linda Chatman, inside a Bucyrus Estates apartment. Marichell’s boyfriend, Richard Warren, and Marichell’s young cousins, Quanita and Quinton Reeves were shot but survived.

    The 6th Circuit panel wrote that the evidence Keith presented calls into question the validity of the case against him. It also said prosecutors suppressed the evidence. The panel’s first impression is that no reasonable jury would find him guilty of the crime and that the new evidence warrants a fresh look.

    Keith’s case will now be sent to U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver in Cleveland, who will rule on whether he should overturn the convictions and grant Keith a new trial.

    Keith was a suspect in part because he was caught in a drug raid where a member of the victims' family was an informant. He also fit the general description that witnesses provided, and Warren testified that Keith was the gunman.

    A judge sentenced Keith to death. Then-Gov. Ted Strickland commuted his sentence to life prison in 2010, 13 days before he was to die, because of questions raised about the way his trial was conducted.

    He is serving his time in the Marion Correctional Institution.

    All of Keith’s previous challenges to his case were unsuccessful.

    Keith argues that prosecutors withheld information about now-retired BCI forensic analyst G. Michele Yezzo, who testified at Keith trial’s about license plate impressions and tire tracks that authorities said linked Keith to the killings.

    Specifically, Keith says several BCI memos from 1989 to 1994 reveal "significant concerns about Yezzo’s mental state and professional integrity,” the 6th Circuit explained.

    This included a May 1989 report from an assistant BCI superintendent saying there was a consensus that Yezzo “suffers a severe mental imbalance and needs immediate assistance,” the opinion says.

    Yezzo was placed on leave in August 1993 after threatening to kill co-workers and had a history of making racist outbursts, the court wrote.

    “In fact, Yezzo was still under investigation when she testified against Keith,” the order says, later adding that “the impeachment value of this evidence cannot be understated.”

    The appeals court also said Keith presented evidence that showed Bucyrus police might have ignored his subpoena for police call logs. Specifically, he obtained the police department’s copy, and the words “ignore for now” are written and underlined towards the top of the subpoena.

    That evidence was at the core of the prosecutors’ case, as investigators said they first heard Keith’s name from John Foor, a nurse who called police and said Warren identified Keith as the shooter. The call logs, however, do not show any calls from nurses who treated Warren, the court wrote.

    Cleveland attorney Jim Wooley said he’s happy Keith will have his day in court. He said his client “went from sitting on his couch to death row” in a little more than 90 days, and that the jury never heard all the information Keith now has.

    “I believe with every fiber of my being that he’s an innocent man,” Wooley, a former federal prosecutor, said.

    Crawford County Prosecutor Matthew Crall noted that the court has not said whether Keith’s claims are true. He believes they are not.

    Crall said to disturb Keith’s convictions would be inappropriate, as that would to discount the testimony believed by a jury.

    This is at least the second time Yezzo’s conduct has caused problem for a murder case. A retired Cuyahoga County judge threw out the 23-year-old murder conviction of a dying man in April 2016 and ordered a new trial after ruling that Huron County prosecutors withheld evidence of Yezzo’s on-the-job issues.

    The defendant, James Parsons, died in February 2017 at age 79, before prosecutors could re-try him.

    https://www.cleveland.com/court-just...rt_river_index

  9. #9
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    Keith is now serving life for killing two women and a four-year-old girl

    By The Associated Press
    WKBN.com

    CLEVELAND (AP) - The case of an Ohio inmate who has long maintained his innocence in the 1994 slaying of three people is once again back before a federal judge.

    Ex-death row prisoner Kevin Keith is now serving a life sentence for killing two women and a 4-year-old girl in what prosecutors said was retaliation for his arrest in a drug sweep.

    Lawyers for Keith are seeking a new trial based on evidence not presented originally, including allegations that a state forensics investigator who worked on Keith's case had a habit of providing police departments with answers they wanted in cases.

    Cleveland federal judge Solomon Oliver on Thursday asked a magistrate judge for a report on the case, following a federal appeals court decision last month that Keith can continue appealing.

    https://www.wkbn.com/news/ohio/case-...dge/1603588171
    In the Shadow of Your Wings
    1 A Prayer of David. Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!

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