‘Felon’ Richey back behind bars for threatening judge

FORMER Death Row Scot Kenny Richey was branded a “sociopathic felon” by the judge he threatened during a New Year’s Eve phone call as he was returned to jail to serve three years in a US prison.

By ALAN MCEWEN Crime Reporter
Tuesday, 8th May 2012, 1:00 pm

The 47-year-old was given the maximum sentence for the offence in an Ohio court yesterday following an earlier guilty plea.

Richey, who now lives in Tupelo in Mississippi, was jailed on a felony count of retaliation for phoning in a threat to Judge Randall Basinger on December 31 last year.

Judge Basinger was an assistant prosecutor in 1986 when Richey was charged with setting a fire that killed a two-year-old girl in an Ohio town.

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Richey was convicted of the attack on the block of flats, but was freed in January 2008 and returned to the Capital before returning again to the US.

Richey had left a message on Judge Randall Basinger’s answering machine saying: “I’m coming to get you.”

Judge Basinger made a victim statement in which he called Richey a threat to the public.

He told Putnam County Common Pleas Court yesterday: “The defendant is a sociopathic felon who has made repeated death threats to me and others in attempts to avoid prosecution.”

Judge Dale Crawford handed down the sentence in a courtroom where eight friends and family members of Richey had gathered for the hearing.

Richey said his threat against Judge Basinger was a drunken prank and apologised.

After pleading guilty to the offence last month, Richey told the court: “I am extremely sorry for having made the call and truly apologise for it and my drunken behaviour.”

Richey, who spent 21 years on Death Row before being released, returned to the US in April 2009 to be with his father Jim, who died after a long battle with prostate cancer.

In January last year, Richey was cleared of battering his son Sean with a baseball bat after his family refused to testify against him.

Last summer, Richey entered a rehab clinic in a bid to tackle his problems with heavy drinking. He was admitted to a five-week programme at the Region III Mental Health Centre in Tupelo after his drinking spiralled out of control.

He entered the clinic the day after he was nearly arrested for allegedly breaking a court-imposed restraining order not to contact his ex-wife.

At the time, his brother, Tom, who is serving 65 years in a US prison for murder, told the News that Richey had “finally recognised his problems” and was “really making an effort” to beat his drink problem.