- Claire Osborn American-Statesman Staff
Greg Kelley was offered a deal before the trial: plead guilty to a molestation charge involving a Cedar Park day care facility and avoid going to jail, said his attorney, Patricia Cummings.
But Kelley, a 19-year-old former Leander High School football player, said he wasn’t guilty and would rather go to trial than take the deal, which would have involved a kind of probation and registering as a sex offender.
Now he will spend the next 25 years in prison.
A jury convicted him late Tuesday night of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old boy twice in 2013. The jury found him not guilty of indecency with a child involving the allegations of a second boy at the in-home day care where Kelley was living while his parents were in the hospital. The day care facility, owned by Shama McCarty, has closed.
The two counts of super aggravated sexual assault each carry a minimum sentence of 25 years with no chance for parole.
During the sentencing phase Wednesday, Kelley accepted a different plea deal: He will serve two 25-year prison sentences concurrently and waived his right to appeal. His family urged him to take the deal instead of allowing the jury to sentence him, Cummings said.
“His family said, ‘Greg, you can come out at age 44,’” said Cummings. “‘Do we really want to see if the jury is going to give you more than 25?’”
The jury — which deliberated for more than 12 hours Tuesday before reaching the guilty verdict — could have sentenced him to up to life in prison.
Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty confirmed Wednesday her office had made the pretrial plea offer, which would have allowed Kelley to avoid jail time unless he committed another offense.
“We offered 10 years deferred adjudication on an indecency (charge) with registration as a sex offender for 20 years,” she said of the deal that Kelley declined. “We wanted to spare the boys from having to go through what they just went through.”
Both boys testified during the trial, but the second accuser recanted, saying no abuse had happened.
In the courtroom Wednesday, prosecutor Geoffrey Puryear read a letter to Kelley from the parents of the boy he was convicted of assaulting. It said their son didn’t understand the severity of what had happened.
“He just knows that bad people go to jail and he is fine with that,” the letter said. “We thought we were taking him to a place where he could learn and grow and make friends, but instead we left with nothing but heartache.”
Kelley’s mother, Rosa Kelley, stood up in the courtroom after Wednesday’s hearing was over and told more than 40 supporters that her son was innocent.
“This is a lie,” she said. She also said she was proud of her son and ashamed that she had asked him to plead guilty before the trial to minimize his time in prison.
Greg Kelley refused to plead guilty, saying, “No, I am not playing this game because I am not guilty and God is all about the truth,” said his mother.
Outside the courtroom Wednesday, Puryear said that prosecutors “had very good evidence” in the trial. He declined to comment on the feedback he received from jurors, who are allowed to share their thoughts with the attorneys after the trial is over.
Cummings said one juror told her that the jury had leaned toward acquittal for a large part of the trial but decided otherwise because of testimony from the mother of the first accuser.
The mother had testified that when her son told her about the abuse, he was specific that Greg Kelley had done it.