Despite verdict, Greg Kelley case far from over, says defense attorney

After five days of testimony and 12 hours of deliberation, a Williamson County jury reached a guilty verdict. Greg Kelley accepted a sentence of 25 years in prison and gave up his right to appeal. The case was supposed to be over.

But it’s not, at least as far as his supporters are concerned.

An attorney for Kelley is seeking a new trial, claiming he has new evidence that Kelley was barely around the 4-year-old boy he was convicted of molesting last year at a Cedar Park day care. That attorney also filed an affidavit last week from a juror saying he didn’t believe Kelley was guilty but felt pressured to convict.

The supporters of the 19-year-old former Leander High School football player have held rallies and gathered 8,000 signatures on a petition asking Attorney General Greg Abbott to help get the case retried. They have also raised $35,000 for his defense and have a Facebook page called “Fight for GK,” where one real estate agent offered to donate $500 to Kelley’s defense fund if the buyer or seller of a home requests it.

The second-guessing of the process and the July 15 verdict drew strong words from Cedar Park Police Chief Sean Mannix, as the case has grown beyond the courtroom and become the focus of public debate.

Kelley’s supporters are “not recognizing that with every little rally they hold they are subjecting the families of the victims to re-victimization and possibly stifling future sexual assault victims that are seeing this rapid support of a convicted child rapist,” read a July 30 email that Mannix sent to his officers.

“The fight for GK (Greg Kelley) movement has taken on a cult-like appearance, as it is mostly high school kids that have only been exposed to the news reports and what fellow supporters have told them, with no interest in seeking the truth,” Mannix wrote, adding the movement “has been fueled by what I can only characterize as some of the most biased news coverage of a trial that I have ever encountered.”

Doug Douglas, one of Kelley’s supporters, said most of Kelley’s supporters are not high school students but are “business leaders, professionals, executives, other hard-working citizens and voters.” Douglas, a self-employed consultant, said he got interested in Kelley’s case because his daughter went to Leander High School, where Kelley was a student.

“Do we ignore an injustice that has occurred because it might make other people feel bad?” Douglas said.

During the trial, one of the two 4-year-olds who had accused Kelley of molestation changed his story, and jurors found Kelley not guilty of that charge.

The other boy gave a detailed account of being sexually assaulted by Kelley. In a taped interview with investigators, though, the boy also said his mother walked in during the assault and a fight broke out, an event that everyone agrees never happened.

The juror who now says he was pressured to convict Kelley said the jury played the child’s taped interview twice while deliberating. “I pointed out he could not get his story straight, but they (the jury) would not listen,” the juror said in the affidavit.

But making a motion for new trial in a child sexual assault case is “an uphill battle,” said Joe Turner, an Austin trial attorney not connected to this case. “Jurors are willing to forgive inconsistencies in the testimonies of minors … it’s harder for them to look at it in a neutral unemotional state.”

Turner also said “the trial courts — and this goes for appellate courts — care more about finality than accuracy, so they don’t like to overturn jury verdicts.”

Kelley’s new attorney, Keith Hampton, is trying anyway. He filed a pair of motions last week for a new trial. One hinges on two issues: the affidavit of the juror who says he disagreed with the verdict and evidence the jury never heard during the trial, including the fact that the father of the 4-year-old boy said his son sometimes “lies.” The second amended motion promises other evidence suggesting Kelley was not around the day care for at least 183 of the 192 days the child was there.

The day care, now closed, was run out of the home of one of Kelley’s classmates. Kelley stayed with that friend temporarily while his own parents were in the hospital.

Williamson County First Assistant District Attorney Mark Brunner said Friday that multiple witnesses, including Kelley himself, said Kelley was at the day care at times when the child was there.

“The state was not required to prove, nor did we allege, that Greg Kelley was around this child ‘most of the time,’ ” Brunner said.

The trial judge, Billy Ray Stubblefield, must decide whether to grant a hearing on the motion, which must be held by Sept. 29. The state will file a response to the motion next week, Brunner said.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Community news: TreeFolks to give away trees Saturday

TRAVIS COUNTY NORTH AUSTIN TreeFolks to give away trees TreeFolks will distribute 1,200 fruit and shade trees to Austin Energy customers from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Austin Community College Northridge Campus, 11928 Stonehollow Drive, in the first tree giveaway of 2018. Free trees are available for Austin Energy customers, who may bring their...
Williamson sheriff gets approval for deputies to be on ‘Live PD’ show
Williamson sheriff gets approval for deputies to be on ‘Live PD’ show

Williamson County sheriff’s deputies might get to show how they roll on prime-time TV. The Williamson County Commissioners Court gave its approval Thursday to the sheriff’s office to negotiate a contract with a television show that does live recordings of law enforcement on their daily calls. The show, called “Live PD,” is broadcast...
PolitiFact: Teachers don’t have college degrees? Give than an F
PolitiFact: Teachers don’t have college degrees? Give than an F

Andrew White, a Democratic candidate for Texas governor who’s called for $5,000 pay raises for public school teachers, declared that half of the state’s newest teachers lack college degrees. White, a Houston investor, said, “I know this: One way to fix education is to pay teachers more, so that we can attract the best teachers and...
Traffic report for Jan. 22, 2018

Interstate 35 (Travis County): The inside lane on the northbound access road will be closed at Slaughter Lane for three-quarters of a mile from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday and Tuesday nights; the entrance ramp will also be closed. Reduced to one northbound lane under Stassney Lane from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Wednesday; the entrance from William...
White says with Straus out as speaker, Texas will be a ‘runaway truck’
White says with Straus out as speaker, Texas will be a ‘runaway truck’

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew White said Saturday that it is imperative for Democrats to take the Governor’s Mansion in 2018 because otherwise, with the departure of Joe Straus as speaker of the House, Texas government will be a “runaway truck without anyone able to hit the brakes.” “Over and over, Speaker Straus...
More Stories