The Cedar Park City Council approved a move toward an independent review of the Cedar Park Police Department’s policies and procedures in the Greg Kelley case.
Kelley was found guilty of super aggravated sexual assault of a child and sentenced in 2014 to 25 years in prison without parole, but Williamson County officials said in May they had reopened the investigation and identified a new suspect.
Police officials declined to comment Friday about the council’s call for a review, which was made during its regular meeting Thursday.
“Due to the ongoing legal proceedings and the current processes in place, we do not have a statement at this time,” police Cmdr. Bryan Wukasch said.
Mayor Matt Powell made a motion Thursday night to ask the city manager and the city attorney for a recommendation on how to proceed with a review.
“The city manager and/or city attorney will discuss any next steps with City Council in a future City Council meeting,” spokeswoman Jennie Huerta said Friday.
The council doesn’t have the power to fire anyone from the Police Department, City Attorney J.P. LeCompte said Thursday, but the city manager does.
Jake Brydon, one of Kelley’s supporters, criticized the council’s decision, saying the Texas Rangers had already done an independent investigation of the case. He said the independent investigation approved by the council was just a “stall tactic” until pressure from residents subsides.
Some members of the public, including Kelley’s mother, Rosa Kelley, repeated their calls at Thursday night’s meeting for the firing of Police Chief Sean Mannix and Sgt. Chris Dailey, the lead investigator in the case.
“We don’t care how far we have to go, we will be a constant presence at every City Council meeting until Mannix and Dailey lose their jobs,” Brydon said.
During the public comment portion of the council meeting, Rosa Kelley turned to the more than 30 Cedar Park police officers in attendance and said: “We as a community appreciate you, but the ones bringing mud to the police force are the ones making the problems.”
She also commented about a hearing last week during which Greg Kelley’s lawyers made the case that their client is innocent.
“I was in shock the three days we spent in court to hear what happened,” Rosa Kelley said, “to hear the investigator who was supposed to do his job and he did not perform it.”
Another Greg Kelley supporter, Michael Lapaglia, said at the council meeting that Mannix had attacked the people who believed in Kelley’s innocence, calling the group a “cult.”
“Sgt. Dailey was promoted since this case,” Lapaglia said, “and he didn’t even show up at the crime scene to take pictures.”
Greg Kelley was convicted in 2014, but first-year Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick said in May there was another suspect in the case — Kelley’s friend Johnathan McCarty.
The crime happened at a Cedar Park in-home day care facility. A Texas Ranger called in to investigate the case testified last week that the Cedar Park police investigation missed numerous steps and ignored key facts.
Kelley’s appeals’ lawyer has until Aug. 18 to submit his written claims to District Judge Donna King, who will decide whether they have merit and will send her recommendations to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The appeals court could decide whether to exonerate Kelley or grant him a new trial.
Dailey testified in the hearing that he didn’t visit the day care facility, take photographs, question other people who had access to the boys who made the accusations against Kelley, collect evidence, ask the names of other children who attended the day care or consider other suspects.
Kristy Whitfield, president of the Cedar Park Police Association, defended Mannix at the City Council meeting Thursday.
“Chief Mannix is a perfect example of someone who works tirelessly to lead and support the men and women of our department,” she said. “The professionalism of a police officer is often attacked when circumstances cannot be immediately addressed due to the sensitivity of the issue or the rules of law.”