A man released from an Ohio prison two years ago after spending two decades on death row there is now facing a felony assault charge in Crow Wing County.
Kenneth Thomas Richey, 45, was arrested early Wednesday by Baxter police officers investigating a report of an assault at a residence on the 10000 block of Cherrywood Drive.
He is accused of hitting his son, Sean Richey, in the head with a baseball bat at their Baxter home. On Friday, Kenneth Richey was charged with felony second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, felony terroristic threats and misdemeanor domestic assault. He was released from jail on $3,000 bail. His next court date is 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 19.
Richey was convicted in Ohio of setting a fire in 1986 that killed a 2-year-old girl. He stayed on death row until a federal appeals court determined in August of 2007 that his lawyers mishandled his case.
The state of Ohio was set to try him again and seek another death sentence. Instead, Kenneth Richey pleaded no contest to the state's charges accusing him of telling the toddler's mother he would baby-sit the girl, but failing to do so and leaving her in harm's way.
The deal let Kenneth Richey, a U.S.-British citizen, go home to Scotland without admitting that he had anything to do with the fire. It isn't known when Kenneth Richey returned to the U.S. but according to Crow Wing County court documents he recently was living with Sean Richey and Sean Richey's mother, Wendy.
According to the criminal complaint filed Friday against Kenneth Richey:
• At 1:53 a.m. Wednesday Baxter police officers responded to an assault at a residence on the 10000 block of Cherrywood Drive. The report came from a neighbor, who said the victim, Sean Richey, was at his house and had been hit in the head with a baseball bat.
Baxter officers were informed that the suspect in the assault was leaving a church parking lot in a vehicle. The vehicle was stopped and the suspect was identified as Kenneth Richey. When officers asked Kenneth Richey to step from the vehicle he became upset and was taken into custody for officers' safety.
When officers made contact with Sean Richey, they observed he had a towel on the back of his head and had a lot of blood on his shirt and in his hair.
Sean Richey told officers that he had been at home with his father, Kenneth Richey, having some beers and during the course of the evening they were joking and wrestling around. He told officers the wrestling started as nothing aggressively physical, just playful. Each time Kenneth Richey would win but the last time Sean Richey won, cutting Kenneth Richey's lip.
At that point Kenneth Richey became upset and told Sean Richey that he was going to kill him. Sean Richey told officers he felt threatened, thought Kenneth Richey was serious and ran downstairs to his room and grabbed a baseball bat.
Sean Richey then said he went upstairs with the baseball bat and told his father to stay away from him.
When Sean Richey's mother came out of her room because of the noise, Sean Richey told her to call 911 because Kenneth Richey was going to kill him. At that point Sean Richey said he dropped the bat and ran downstairs, shut his bedroom door and tried to hold it shut.
Kenneth Richey went downstairs with the bat, kicked the bedroom door in and struck Sean Richey in the back of the head with the bat and also struck his left knee. Sean Richey said his father kept assaulting him so he ran from his house to a neighbors, where police were called.
Sean Richey's mother, Wendy, told police she was awakened by Sean and Kenneth Richey and got up to tell them to quiet down. She said she observed Kenneth Richey hit Sean Richey in the head with his hand but didn't see anyone with a baseball bat, though she did see an aluminum bat in the basement. The bat was recovered by officers near Sean Richey's bedroom.
After Kenneth Richey was arrested and was being transported to jail he allegedly asked the officer, "Do you know who the (expletive deleted) I am?", "You (expletive deleted) with the wrong person" and asked the officer her name and where she lived. When the officer said she would not give him her address, Kenneth Richey said, "That's OK, you have an easy name to remember and I'll find you." The complaint also alleges Kenneth Richey told the officer, "I'll be on your front porch when I get out."
As the officer's squad was taking Kenneth Richey to jail it passed the ambulance that was transporting Sean Richey to the hospital. Sean Richey was observable through the ambulance's window and Kenneth Richey allegedly said, "You come after me with a bat and I get arrested. I'll kill you." The officer also was advised that Kenneth Richey made threats to jail staff.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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