BUCYRUS — On Friday, Judge Sean E. Leuthold, Crawford County Court of Common Pleas, denied convicted triple murderer Kevin Keith’s motion for leave to request a new trial.
Keith was convicted in 1994 of aggravated murder in the deaths of three people and attempted murder of three more people. He was sentenced to death, but received a commutation (or reduction) of his sentence by then-Gov. Ted Strickland in 2010. The most recent request for a new trial surrounded allegations made about Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) Forensic Scientist Michele Yezzo.
This was the fifth time Keith has requested a new trial and the fifth time the motion has been denied or withdrawn.
“The Court was correct to deny this motion,” said Crawford County Prosecutor Matthew E. Crall. “Allowing this motion to go forward would have established a horrible precedent where prosecutors would have become responsible for knowing and disclosing any complaint filed against any witness … even when that complaint is unfounded. Worse yet, the amount of frivolous complaints filed against police officers, forensic scientists, judges and prosecutors would increase exponentially.”
Crall said this ruling allows the facts of what happened that horrible night and the subsequent trial to be the final finder of those facts.
“That is the way the judicial system works,” Crall said. “The defendant professes his innocence. Fortunately, every court: the Crawford County Court of Common Pleas, the Third District Court of Appeals, the Ohio Supreme Court, the Northern District of 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,” Crall said.
The Third District Court of Appeals said in 2010, “Notwithstanding repeated collateral attacks upon the capital convictions of Kevin Keith, the evidence of his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is compelling, persuasive and overwhelming.”
“Nothing that was filed by the Defendant in 2016 changes that truth,” Crall said. “Perhaps the most disturbing facet of this case is that those who perished and those who survived being shot receive no mention in all the publicity. I would ask everyone to remember the lives of those who died — Maricell D. Chatman, Linda J. Chatman, and Marchae D. Chatman; and those who were shot — Richard Warren, Quanita M. Reeves, and Quenton M. Reeves.”
The Inquirer has reached out to Kevin Keith’s attorneys. If, and when, they respond, this story will be updated.
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