Convicted of three murders, Keith’s attorneys appeal local decision to deny new trial
BUCYRUS — A decision by Crawford County Common Pleas Court Judge Sean Leuthold in January to deny a motion for a new trial filed by the attorneys of convicted triple murderer Kevin Keith is being appealed.
That appeal was filed Tuesday to the Ohio Court of Appeals, Third Appellate District.
Keith, 53, was convicted in 1994 in Bucyrus of the murders of Maricell D. Chatman; and her 5-year-old daughter, Marchae D. Chatman; and Linda J. Chatman; and the attempted murders of Richard Warren, Quanita M. Reeves, and Quentin M. Reeves.
Keith was sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to life by then-Gov. Ted Strickland in 2010. Keith has always maintained his innocence.
Four attorneys representing Keith that include former Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro; two former prosecutors, Zachary Swisher and Jim Wooley; and Keith’s long-time public defender, Rachel Troutman; had filed for a new trial Oct. 28 2016, citing newly discovered evidence involving a Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation forensic analyst who testified against Keith.
According to a news release from Keith’s attorneys received by the Galion Inquirer, G. Michele Yezzo, the state’s expert, “provided the critical forensic conclusions regarding Mr. Keith,” to try to link Keith to the crime scene.
“That expert was known to the state, though not to Mr. Keith, as someone who “will stretch the truth to satisfy a department. Since the trial, her forensic conclusions have proven faulty.”
“The state convicted Kevin Keith for crimes he did not commit, using evidence it knew to be unreliable,” Keith’s attorneys wrote in the appeal, “Keith has this evidence now, and it seriously undermines the state’s case against him. He deserves a new trial.”
Keith is incarcerated at the Marion Correctional Institution in Marion County.