Keith Griffith’s house will stay up

Keith Griffith’s house will stay up. Judge Tim Kaltenbach is giving the defense 90 days to say whether they’ve completed testing or what they want to do with Griffith’s home.   

Griffith is accused of killing his wife last year and setting fire to their home in Reidland.

Judge Kaltenbach is allowing the defense to keep the house up, but McCracken County Attorney Sam Clymer says it’s a hazard for the community.

“The county does have an interest in the health, safety, and welfare of the citizenry in that area,” Clymer said.

Keith Griffith’s burnt home has been up for more than a year, but Public Defender Chris McNeill said it needs to stay up.

“While I understand the desires of the people in the community for sure, on the other hand the government is trying to execute a man. Those are competing interests,” McNeill said.

Griffith is waiting for a new trial after his first ended in a mistrial.

McNeill said they have to hold off on setting a trial date until they have a complete defense team.

“I’m trying to get lead council of somebody from the capital trial branch. So, far I have not been able to do that,” McNeill said.

McNeill said putting together a team of lawyers for a death penalty case takes time. He says they’d like a lawyer from their capital trial branch. They’re the ones who handle death penalty cases, but their agency is short-staffed right now after a couple retirements and another lawyer moving.

McNeil said even if a team was in place today Griffith’s house would likely still stay.

“If the defense team were named completely even today, I cannot imagine that a decision could be made this quickly abut that house,” McNeill said.

McNeill will need to have a complete defense team before April 17th. That’s when Judge Kaltenbach expects to him in court again so they can set a trial date for Griffith.

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