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



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.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.