Convicted killer wants release, co-defendant already out of jail

Convicted killer wants release, co-defendant already out of jail

Michael Keenan has spent 24 years locked up for the murder of Tony Klann in 1988. Joe D'Ambrosio was released from jail because a judge ruled key evidence was withheld from his attorneys.  Keenan's lawyers say the same thing.

As a death row inmate, you might think Keenan had bigger questions for his lawyers than if he had to be on 19 Action News.  To put it simply, he is an animated inmate who was cautioned by Judge Russo to speak through his lawyers.

It was a status session to see where both sides stand on a number of issues, from evident to deadlines to a bond request which Prosecutors oppose.

"Mr. Keenan has been convicted of rape, kidnapping and various drug offenses while he's been out in society," said Judge Joseph Russo.

Joe D'Ambrosio was granted bond pending trial and was eventually released.  Keenan's lawyers read from an upper court decision, much like D'Ambrosio's that ruled evidence withheld.

"It was suppressed from the defense team, it would certainly have impact on the jury's verdict," said Keenan's lawyer Jack Hildebrand.

Key to Keenan's case is testimony at his earlier trial from Eddie Espinoza. He said he saw Keenan slash Tony Klann's throat at Doan Brook. But he's now dead with without him proving Keenan's a killer could be difficult.

And that is key to the case.  Judge Joan Synenberg ruled in D'Ambrosio's case that it could not be used because it couldn't be challenged.  D'Ambrosio was released.  Judge Russo made no rulings but said this case will stand on its own.

Prosecutors want a gag order from Judge Russo.  He made no rulings today.  The trial was set for September 24.

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