Ohio Supreme Court Justice Michael P. Donnelly discusses Kevin’s case in a guest column for the Columbus Dispatch.
Kevin Keith was wrongfully convicted of the murders and attempted murders that occurred during a mass shooting in Bucyrus, Ohio. In 2010, just days before Kevin was to be executed for this crime, then-Governor Strickland removed Kevin from death row due to doubts about his guilt.
Kevin’s wrongful conviction was the result of State misconduct, suppressed evidence and faulty eyewitness identification testimony. Eyewitness testimony is the leading cause of wrongful convictions, even when the lineup is not biased like it was here.
Left: This is the highly biased lineup prepared by police and shown to witnesses to obtain an identification of Kevin, who is depicted in picture 5. Not only is the lineup biased, but its purpose is puzzling: the shooter had been described as wearing a mask.
Bottom: As demonstrated by this comparison photo of Kevin, the lineup photo obscured all features of Keivn’s face. The shape of his head was the only true identifying feature, and that was the feature that surviving victim Quanita Reeves pointed to in order to rule Kevin out as the shooter. She told police that he “don’t got a head like this,” and “he don’t got a lump.”
Kevin has been in prison since 1994 for a crime he did not commit. He has dedicated this time to improving the lives of those around him through mentorship, programming, and prayer.
A masked-man senselessly gunned down six people at an apartment in Bucyrus, Ohio in 1994. Three members of the Chatman family, including 4-year-old Marchae, were killed. Her cousins, Quentin (4) and Quanita (7) Reeves, survived the attack, along with Richard Warren.
The case against Kevin was based on police and prosecutorial misconduct, faulty eyewitness identifications, and a state forensic analyst who lied about her results.
On September 2, 2010, Governor Ted Strickland commuted Kevin’s death sentence, citing doubts about Kevin’s guilt. Kevin is now serving life without the possibility of parole. Strickland is now “convinced that Kevin Keith is very likely an innocent man.” Kevin’s attorneys have been trying repeatedly to get him a new trial.