Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has spared the life of condemned killer Kevin Keith, concluding that while he probably is a murderer, there are too many “real and unanswered questions” to allow him to be executed, reports the Columbus Dispatch. In making the decision, Strickland rejected an 8-0 recommendation from the Ohio Parole Board that Keith should be executed. Keith, 46, was to be lethally injected Sept. 15 for murdering two women and a four-year-old girl by spraying a Bucyrus apartment with bullets as revenge against a drug informant.
Keith, who is on Death Row at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown, was informed of Strickland’s decision shortly before it was made public. Rachel Troutman, one of his attorneys who spoke with him by phone, said he was “grateful” and “recognizes this is a step in the right direction.” Keith and his supporters have long proclaimed his innocence. He sought a full pardon from the governor, even though courts at all levels have affirmed his guilt and the death sentence. It was the second time in the last three murder cases set for execution that the governor spared the life of the convicted killer. He spared the life of Richard Nields in June, but allowed Roderick Davie to be executed in August.