Man tells of close brush with execution over false charge

HELENA — Ron Keine was nine days away from being executed in the gas chamber in New Mexico in the mid-1970s for kidnapping, murder and other crimes he didn’t commit.

He eventually was exonerated after the real murderer confessed to a minister who persuaded him to go to the police.

The Michigan resident testified before the Montana House Judiciary Committee on Thursday for House Bill 370, which would abolish the death penalty and replace it with life imprisonment with no chance of parole.