THE brother of former Death Row inmate Kenny Richey said he intends to return “home” to Edinburgh if he is released from a US prison next year following a fresh appeal.
Tom Richey, who was jailed for 65 years for murdering a man and assaulting another while high on LSD, hoped to be freed in 2010 after trying to exploit a legal loophole, but the move was blocked by judges.
Now the 46-year-old says he is awaiting a hearing before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals within the next three months as the first step towards freedom after nearly 30 years.
In a letter to the Evening News, Richey – who is imprisoned at Washington State Penitentiary in Washington – said he was “mentally preparing for release” but would remain “tormented” by the murder he committed.
He vowed not to make the same mistakes as his brother if he makes it back to Edinburgh.
Kenny Richey returned to Scotland in 2008 but his stay was blighted by drink and drug abuse and he went back to the US the following year.
Tom Richey moved to America when he was 17 to start a new life with his older brother. Following his conviction in 1986 for shooting two shop workers, he spent a year on Death Row before accepting a plea bargain and receiving a prison sentence. Shortly after Tom was imprisoned, Kenny was charged with arson-murder, for which he spent 21 years on Death Row before his conviction was overturned.
In his letter, Tom wrote: “I’m mentally preparing for release. I’m aware of the challenges that face me. I know people, like Kenny, who have been freed after a good number of years only to soon find themselves back in prison. They seem to share a similar story. The initial elation of freedom comes crashing down when reality hits. The reality that they’ve wasted most of their lives behind bars. I know that’s an emotional hurdle I’ll have to contend with.”
“Yet, those years ‘wasted’ were the necessary punishment meted out that I had to pay. I took a life. I now have a responsibility to continue to be a better person.
“I will be returning home to Edinburgh. It’s the finish line I’ve set my sights on for so long. It’s home, and I’ve missed it for a long time.”
Richey’s lawyers previously argued the charge against him of “attempted felony murder” was not on the statutes of Washington state, and therefore their client should never have been convicted. But in 2010 a judge agreed to change the wording of the charges but not the sentence.
Mr Richey’s lawyer Corey Endo confirmed an appeal has been lodged.
However she refused to be drawn on whether a successful appeal would result in Richey being released on time served.
She said: “If we are successful in this appeal then this will allow us the right to a new round of proceedings in the district court.”