Long Beach Press-Telegram columnist Tom Hennessy recently wrote an impassioned column seeking the release of Richard Keech, an 89-year-old WWII veteran imprisoned for murdering Nick Candy, his former son-in-law. Hennessy writes:
“My father is in prison because he killed my abusive husband to protect my son, my mother, and me,” his daughter Nancy said in a recent advertisement she ran in the Press-Telegram.
With the family trying for a compassionate discharge that would give their patriarch a brief stay at home, the ad sought letters of support from readers…
Says Nancy, “My dad is not a danger. He is an outstanding man with a long history of compassion, integrity and good works.”
While I don’t rule out the possibility that Nancy’s ex-husband was abusive and that Richard was acting, or thought he was acting, to help his daughter, given the trial’s outcome, I suspect that a look at the court records would find many problems with this version of events. Moreover, in the comments section a woman who is apparently Nick Candy’s first wife, writes:
I was married to Nick for 19 years and think that I am more qualified than most of the people to speak about how he was. During all our married life he was never abusive towards me. He contacted me again at the time of his very acrimonious divorce with Nancy Keech and I was going to visit him to give him some support.
Unfortunately Richard Keech put a stop to this killing him on my birthday. To set the record right I was not coming to the US to get back with Nick and he had no plan to return to the UK with me and his son Martin. This is the sort of tale that his wife was feeding her father besides that of being abusive.
The saddest thing is that his murderer is convinced that he has done a good deed for his daughter and has no regrets and Martin, his son, has lost his father who adored him. I feel that the real killer has not been punished…
Again in the comments section, a man claiming to be Nick Candy’s cousin writes:
This alleged abuse was never proven in court…Nick Candy went to pick up his son for court appointed visitation. When he rang the doorbell, Richard Keech opened fire and shot him. Nick ran down the street calling for help and in pain, fell in a neighbors front yard. Richard Keech followed him and shot him several times in the back, in cold blood, in front of witnesses. Richard Keech announced for all the neighbors to hear “he won’t bother anybody else,” then he walked back home. the gun was found on the kitchen counter, void of finger prints. we never found out why they were wiped off…
Do you all know what premeditated means? For God’s sake they were discussing on the phone (taped by the Keech family to trap my cousin Nick into saying something wrong, and [then they] forgot about the taping) with a friend, that Keech is planning to kill Nick! I was at the trial every day…he had 3 of the best lawyers…i suggest you read the court documents.
I understand the case for compassionate release of sick or elderly prisoners, and I’m generally not an advocate of “lock ’em up and throw away the key”-type policies. If Tom Hennessy wants to suggest that Keech be released because he’s old and sick, that’s perhaps a legitimate argument. If he wants to argue that Keech should be released because he acted to help his daughter against this allegedly abusive her-husband, that’s a completely different matter.
Hennessey can be reached at email@example.com. Thanks to Kelly, a reader, for the story.