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Judge orders compassionate release of 89-year-old murder convict

October 5, 2009 |  3:06 pm

A judge in Long Beach ruled today for the compassionate release of an 89-year-old man convicted of murder because the elderly prisoner is suffering from Alzheimer's disease and unable to care for himself.

Dick Keech, was convicted in 1997 of killing his son-in-law, Nick Candy, and sentenced to life in prison.

"Although Mr. Keech did not show compassion to Mr. Candy, given all the circumstances I believe it is time to exercise compassion now,"  said Judge William T. Garner, who presided over Keech's original case and was brought out of retirement to hear today's arguments.

"For him to spend his remaining time in prison will be expensive to taxpayers with no obvious benefit," Garner continued.

Keech is a World War II veteran who uses a wheelchair and is unable to do anything by himself, said his attorney, Paul Mones. Keech was recommended for release on grounds of being “medically incapacitated” by the state Department of Corrections and the parole board, Mones said.

Keech was sentenced to 35 years to life in prison in 1997 after being convicted of first-degree murder in the death of his son-in-law, Nick Candy, who was involved in child custody disputes with Keech's daughter.

Keech's attorneys at the time argued that the stress of having been a prisoner of war decades earlier caused him to snap when he shot Candy during an argument, followed him down the street and shot him four more times.

-- Victoria Kim at the L.A. County Courthouse in Long Beach

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