Kenny Richey's brother Tom to be freed after 24 years

THE brother of former Death Row inmate Kenny Richey has spoken of his "fear and anxiety" ahead of his own release from an American prison.

Tom Richey, who was sentenced to 65 years in prison for murdering a man and assaulting another while high on the drug LSD, is set to be freed after 24 years behind bars.

The 42-year-old plans to return to Edinburgh within the next two months after exploiting a legal loophole based on the fact the wording of one of the charges against him was incorrect.

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Following his conviction in 1986 for shooting two shop workers, Tom Richey spent a year on Death Row before he accepted a plea bargain and was given a prison sentence.

But despite his joy at his impending freedom after the long-running legal battle, Richey said readjusting to life on the outside would be his "biggest fight" yet.

In a letter to the Evening News from prison, he said: "The world beyond the walls and the razorwire fences is unfamiliar territory. I'll be leaving with little more than the clothes on my back and enough money for a good riddance flight home to Edinburgh.

"I'm at an age when most men have long settled and are watching their teens sprout into adults. I'm starting my life late with a social experience based on my memories as an 18-year-old.

"It's so strange how things reverse themselves. I now harbour the same fear and anxiety I experienced as a teen entering the foreign prison environment." He added: "I always believed my biggest fight would come in attaining my freedom, but I realise my biggest fight is yet to come – it waits beyond the walls of the prison. I need to learn to adapt and survive in a world I barely remember."

Richey moved to America when he was 17 to start a new life with his older brother, Kenny.

Shortly after Tom was imprisoned, Kenny was charged with arson-murder, for which he spent years on Death Row before his conviction was overturned in January 2008.

Last week Kenny urged his brother not to make the same mistakes he did when he finally wins his freedom.

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He said: "When you get out after 23 years, or 21 in my case, you want to recapture what you've lost, and live all those days you've missed out on. But I fell in with the wrong people and was too trusting. Tom saw what happened so I don't think he'll do the same thing."

Kenny returned to the US in April last year to be with their father, Jim, who died after a long battle with prostate cancer.

He said: "It's been difficult to have a relationship as brothers. I'm hoping that when he comes out we can catch up and change that. We just want to be a family again. It's unfortunate that dad died before Tom got out. It would have been great for the three of us to be together before he passed away, but it wasn't to be."