27 years on, Millington mother waits for execution of daughter’s killer

MILLINGTON, Tenn. – A Millington mother is continuing the decades-long wait for the execution of her 7-year-old daughter’s killer.

Debbie Reich said her live-in boyfriend, David Keen, murdered Nikki Read and dumped her body in the Wolf River near Mud Island.

“He raped her, he beat her and he strangled her with her own shoelace,” said Read’s mother, Debbie Reich.

Reid has been on death row for 27 years after confessing to the crime.

It’s 27 years too long for Reich.

“They can just put a person on death row, a monster like that, and just leave them there for the taxpayers to pay, you know. They get to keep breathing and eating,” said Reich.

Reich said she felt encouraged when she heard the state of Tennessee was resuming executions after almost nine years with none.

Thursday night, Billy Ray Irick was executed for the rape and murder of another little girl.

But Reich admits she didn’t always feel strongly about the death penalty.

“I used to not think about the death penalty until it happens to you, and I think when somebody murders a child and tortures them like that, they deserve to die,” Reich said.

When death will come for Keen remains uncertain.

“They haven’t even had his federal appeals yet. Until they have his federal appeals, he can’t get an execution date, and I’m not gonna live forever. I want to be alive to see my daughter get justice,” Reich said.

Of the 60 inmates currently on death row in Tennessee, 27 are from Shelby County. Some have been there since the 1980s.