During a hearing in Putnam County Common Pleas Court, Kenneth Richey changed his plea to guilty on one count of retaliation-- a felony of the third degree.
In exchange for the guilty plea, one count of violating a protection order was dropped and several charges from Minnesota will be also be dismissed. The 47 year old is accused of leaving a threatening message on the Putnam County Clerk of Courts answering machine. The threats were made on New Year's Eve and were directed towards Judge Randall Basinger who attended the hearing but did not speak.
Basinger, prosecuted the case in which Richey was sentenced to death for setting a fire that led to the death of a Columbus Grove toddler. He sat on death row for more than 20 years before, a federal court overturned the death sentence.
Richey now faces a 36 month prison sentence and a $10,000 fine.
A protection order, which is currently in place and covers Judge Basinger, will also be extended for five years. That will instead expire in January of 2018.
Richey will be sentenced on May 7th-- the same day his trial in this case was set to begin.