Cedar Park Police Department Detective Chris Dailey sat in the witness stand, trying to answer the blunt questions that came his way.
Did you investigate anyone other than Greg Kelley in the 2013 sexual molestation case of two young boys at an in-home day care facility? the lawyer asked. Did you find out who else had access to the boys? Did you interview all the parents of the other children who went to the day care? Did you even visit the house?
No. No. No. No.
“Do you think you conducted a thorough investigation in this case?” asked Williamson County prosecutor Rene Gonzalez.
“Yes, sir,” Dailey answered.
The answers came in the first day of what is expected to be a three-day hearing in which lawyers for Greg Kelley — who was convicted in 2014 of super aggravated sexual abuse against a 4-year-old boy — will say their client is innocent or at least, deserves a new trial.
Kelley’s lawyers will try to convince state District Judge Donna King that Kelley was wrongfully convicted. They say there’s a new suspect, that his lawyers made mistakes and that their client couldn’t have committed the crime because he wasn’t around the child enough at the time of the alleged assault.
After the hearing, King will decide whether she believes any of those claims has merit. She will then make recommendations to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which will ultimately decide Kelley’s fate.
Prosecutors with the Williamson County district attorney’s office were at Wednesday’s hearing to listen to testimony and ask questions. District Attorney Shawn Dick has essentially described the office as being on a fact-finding mission to answer questions surrounding the case.
Since May, Kelley’s attorney has filed numerous motions in court in relation to the case. Among the biggest revelations was that the Texas Rangers were investigating a new suspect: Johnathan McCarty.
For about a year starting in mid-2012, as Greg Kelley’s parents were dealing with illness, Kelley lived with McCarty and his family, who ran the in-home day care center in a Cedar Park house. But in the summer of 2013, shortly after Kelley moved out, a boy who attended the day care told his parents that he had been sexually assaulted by Kelley. Another little boy, who later recanted, said the same thing.
Dailey was the lead investigator on the case. He said Kelley’s name emerged from a victim’s father who gave the information to police after the child said “Greg” was the perpetrator.
On Wednesday, Dailey took center stage in the case as lawyers scrutinized his work. When they asked why he never investigated other suspects, he said it was because he believed the children. They asked why he didn’t interview others in the home. He said it wasn’t necessary because the children had named Greg as their abuser.
Gonzalez showed Dailey side-by-side pictures of McCarty and Kelley and asked if the children could have been confused. Dailey said he didn’t think so because the two are different heights and weights.
At one point, one of children said that Johnathan McCarty was involved in the abuse, but then said it was just Greg, testimony showed. But Dailey said he didn’t investigate McCarty because he believed the child was confused and misspoke. Dailey added, however, that the child didn’t seem confused about whom his attacker was.
“He got some things confused,” Dailey said.
“But not that,” Gonzalez said.
“Not that,” Dailey answered.
Dailey also came under fire for deleting emails between himself and a Child Protective Services investigator about the case because “I didn’t think they contained any evidentiary value.”
Deleting the emails was a violation of Cedar Park Police Department policy that Dailey said he later regretted.
Dailey said he would change nothing about his work. In total, he estimated that he spent a couple of months on the investigation.
Throughout Dailey’s testimony, Kelley’s supporters sighed and quietly grumbled their distaste for the investigation.
“The laziness by the Cedar Park Police Department, and in particular Chris Dailey, is appalling,” Kelley supporter Jake Brydon said outside the courtroom.
Several dozen supporters filed into the courtroom. Dan and Fran Keller — who were recently deemed innocent of child sex abuse crimes for which they spent more than 20 years in prison — were in the audience to support Kelley.
Dick said after the hearing that Dailey’s testimony was the “most enlightening” of the day. He declined to comment further.