Criminal lawyer says former Death Row Scot Kenny Richey was his most 'aggressive client' – Daily Record

A leading criminal lawyer has revealed former Death Row prisoner Kenny Richey was his most aggressive client.

Ronnie Renucci QC said Richey’s conduct made him question whether the decision to free him was the right one.

He also told how his client tried to intimidate police when he was interviewed in connection with an assault and robbery.

The former US Marine, originally from Edinburgh, was sentenced to death for the murder of two-year-old Cynthia Collin who died in a fire at her mother’s apartment in Columbus Grove, Ohio, in June 1986.

Ronnie Renucci QC said Richey’s conduct made him question whether the decision to free him was the right one
(Image: Daily Record)

He claimed it was a miscarriage of justice and was eventually released in 2008 after entering a “no contest” plea to manslaughter, child endangering and breaking and entering in a plea bargain.

Richey returned to Scotland upon and Renucci acted for him at the High Court in Paisley in 2009 when he was charged with assault and robbery.

The 56-year-old went to the US and was jailed for 12 years earlier this year for threatening a prosecutor who was involved in his original trial.

Renucci, who is vice dean of the Faculty of Advocates, chose his dealings with Richey as his most memorable case in an interview with online legal platform Hey Legal.

He said: “I got instructed to do a trial for Kenny Richey, the guy who had been on Death Row in Ohio.

“He was originally from Edinburgh and after he got pardoned he came back to live in Edinburgh.

“He got charged with assault and robbery and I appeared for him at Paisley High Court.

“It was memorable mainly for Richey himself who was probably the most difficult client I’ve ever had.

“I still remember his police interview where it was the most bullying, hectoring, aggressive, intimidating interview I have ever seen and that was Richey to the police.

Kenny Richey was on death row for 21 years in Ohio after being convicted in January 1987 of murdering two year-old Cynthia Collins by arson in 1986. In December 2007, he accepted a plea bargain, which led to his release from death row and return to Scotland on January 9, 2008.
Kenny Richey was on death row for 21 years in Ohio after being convicted in January 1987 of murdering two year-old Cynthia Collins by arson in 1986
(Image: Danny Lawson/PA Wire)

“Obviously he got pardoned and we know there are wrongful convictions.

“But you begin to wonder if there is such a thing as a wrongful pardon.

“I wouldn’t imagine it would be very pleasant being on Death Row but he was a very difficult guy.

“Since then he has moved back to America and I remember reading a few years ago that he had got back into trouble and he was facing trial in America again.”

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Richey had been charged with assaulting a 64-year-old man and robbing him of a mobile phone and money at a flat in Edinburgh in July 2008.

The charges were dropped during the trial because of a lack of corroboration but he pled guilty to threatening a fiscal dispute after being refused bail in the case.

Lord McEwan decided to free him at the time because he had already served seven months on remand and the judge said he had suffered enough.

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Richey’s latest jail sentence came after he made threats towards Randall Basinger in videos posted on Facebook last year.

Basinger was a prosecutor who in 1987 helped secure the murder conviction against Richey.

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