Judge Orders Prosecutors to Retry or Clear D'Ambrosio Co-Defendant

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Joe DAmbrosio, wrongly accused.
  • Joe D'Ambrosio, wrongly accused.

Re-try the case or toss out the conviction – that was the order handed down this week from the federal bench regarding Michael Keenan, the man convicted alongside now-exonerated Joe D'Ambrosio of murder.

Judge David Katz told Cuyahoga County prosecutors Tuesday they have 180 days to act, according to the Plain Dealer. The edict could finally slam the book shut on a long-running legal nightmare.

The men were tried and convicted for the 1988 slaying of Tony Klann on Cleveland's East Side. The state's case rested pretty much entirely on a single witness — who just so happened to have reasons of his own to see Klann dead.

Despite the holes in the case, expertly laid out in former Scene staffer Martin Kuz's 2001's feature, “Unluckiest Man on Death Row,” the convictions stood until 2006, when a judge determined Cuyahoga County prosecutors stayed mum on additional info that could have cleared his name. Now the same justice looks like it will be extended to the 62-year-old Keenan.

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