© 2021 WKSU
Public Radio News for Northeast Ohio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Government & Politics

Ohio Man Who Narrowly Escaped Death Row Files a Civil Claim of Bad Faith Against Prosecutors

Charles Keith and Melinda Dawson

A Canton man who narrowly escaped execution is now suing Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, police, prosecutors and the forensic investigator in his case – demanding they re-review key evidence that would have led to his acquittal altogether. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the latest twist in the case of Kevin Keith.

The federal civil suit claims Keith’s aggravated murder conviction in Bucyrus in 1994 was built on the “bad faith” actions of police and prosecutors -- that are only now being discovered. It says they withheld evidence that pointed to a different suspect, ignored defense subpoenas and denied the existence of phone logs that were key to an eyewitness identification.

It also challenges the fact that the state never shared its own concerns about the work of a forensics analyst who tied Keith’s car to the crime scene. Charles Keith has maintained his brother’s innocence since the trial. “It’s not the fact that they didn’t do their job. They lied. Lies that you can’t back up with your evidence and that’s why we’re here.”

The civil suit asks that the forensic evidence be re-evaluated and that the case gets a reconsideration on the merits, not on narrow legal procedural issues. Prosecutors have said Keith has had a full and fair review of his case and his appeals since the trial nearly 25 years ago.