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Judge Denies a Claim for a New Trial Based on Questions About The State's Investigator

Anti-execution rally

A judge has denied a new trial for a Canton man who narrowly escaped execution but remains in prison for life. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on developments in one of dozens of cases linked to questions about the work of a state forensics investigator.

Kevin Keith was convicted in 1994 of killing three people and wounding three others in Bucyrus, and sentenced to death. He has always maintained his innocence and former Gov. Ted Strickland commuted his sentence to life in prison after questions arose about eye-witness accounts and other evidence.

Last month, Keith asked for a new trial, pointing to questions about  G. Michele Yezzo, a now-retired state expert who linked Keith to the killings based on snow prints and tire treads.  Yezzo’s personnel file at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation included claims that she had a history of bias, made errors and acted out against coworkers.

A defendant in another case has been freed because of the questions.

But in denying Keith a new trial, Crawford County Judge Sean Leuthold said Keith could have obtained the personal record during his trial, and that the claims about Yezzo are unsubstantiated and she also got good reviews. 

M.L. Schultze is a freelance journalist. She spent 25 years at The Repository in Canton where she was managing editor for nearly a decade, then served as WKSU's news director and digital editor until her retirement.