By Kevin Duguid
FORMER death row inmate Kenny Richey has entered a rehab clinic in a bid to tackle his heavy drinking.
The 46-year-old Scot was admitted to a five week programme at a mental health centre in Tupelo, Mississippi, after his drinking spiralled out of control.
He entered the rehab clinic the day after he was nearly arrested for allegedly breaking a court-imposed restraining order not to contact his ex-wife, Wendy Amerud.
His brother Tom, who is serving 65 years in a US prison for murder, said Richey had
“finally recognised his problems’ and was
“really making an effort’ to beat his drink problem.
The rehab clinic is near the home of Richey’s new girlfriend, Karen Charves, 53, a holistic healer who the former US Marine met online.
Earlier this year, doctors told Richey that he will die within three years if he doesn’t stop drinking and smoking. He was told that he has irreparable damage to his heart, and was rushed to hospital after suffering chest pains in March.
Tom Richey said:
“He admits he drank heavily, used drugs and acted irresponsibly. He motored ahead like a drunk driver and instead of pulling to the side of the road he unbuckled his seatbelt and pressed his foot on the accelerator.’
Kenny Richey spent 21 years on death row before being released.
He returned to the US from Scotland in April 2009 to be with father Jim, who died after a long battle with prostate cancer.
Richey had been living with Ms Amerud, 50, in Minnesota. But following a series of arguments he left the family home and a restraining order banning him from contacting his wife was taken out.
Tom Richey said his brother had wanted to reconnect with his past by rekindling his relationship with Ms Amerud and living with their son Sean, 23.
‘Things went okay for a while, but Wendy was unprepared for the damaged man Kenny had become and resentment surfaced from Sean. Kenny drank more and grew detached. Arguments led to a fight between him and his son,’ he said.
Richey then moved into the Mississippi home of Ms Charves in May and began looking for a rehab clinic to take him in.
After being turned down by two clinics after failing medical examinations, he was finally accepted at the Tupelo facility last month.
Tom Richey said:
“It’s the first step forward he’s made since his release from Death Row three years ago.
‘He’s no longer looking over his shoulder and lamenting over the years he lost.’
Kenny Richey was convicted in 1987 of an arson attack on a block of flats in an Ohio town in which a two-year-old girl died, but was freed in January 2008 and returned to Edinburgh.