GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — The teen convicted of super aggravated sexual assault of a child for incidents at an in-home day care will spend the next 25 years behind bars and has surrendered his chances for an appeal as part of a plea deal reached Wednesday.
It was standing room only in the courtroom where the plea deal was announced; Gregory Kelley was sentenced to 25 years for each of three counts where a jury found him guilty. The sentences will be served concurrently. Once released from prison, he will have to register as a sex offender.
Jurors were to convene Wednesday afternoon, a day after they spent 11 hours deliberating before ultimately finding Gregory Kelley guilty of sexual assault of a 4-year-old.
However, prior to the start of the sentencing phase, Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty and Kelley’s defense attorney could be seen conferring in the hallway, apparently negotiating a plea deal. Prosecutors and defense attorneys can strike a deal on a sentencing agreement that would mean less jail time for the defendant in lieu of him waving his right to appeal.
The plea deal leaves Kelley with no right to appeal. His mother was outspoken Wednesday following the sentencing and told KXAN her son took the deal because it was a better option than the possibility of life in prison if the jury decided.
“[My son] says, ‘I can go in for 25. I can still have opportunities to do something with myself.’ And he will,” said Rosa Kelley, Greg Kelley’s mother.
Williamson County prosecutor Geoffrey Puryear said Kelley’s accepting of the plea deal speaks for itself, and he said they were satisfied with the outcome of the trial.
“These cases are very tough; to try a case with two four-year-old victims is difficult. But, I think this case is proof they can be won,” Puryear said.
If sentenced by the jury, Kelley faced a minimum of 25 years in prison, however the enhanced super aggravated sexual assault charge carries a possible life sentence.
“A lot of times in a hard fought case like this the parties will come to some type of an agreement, once the decision as to whether the defendant is guilty or not has been reached,” said Charlie Baird, a former Texas Court of Criminal Appeals judge. “It’s not unusual that the parties would come back together and say can we resolve the case now for some agreed level of punishment. The question would be in any bargain, what is he getting and what is he giving up?”
Facing serious accusations in court, Kelley took the stand in his own defense Monday.
The first several questions asked were if he had any sexual contact with the alleged victims.
“No, ma’am,” he responded to each one.
He went on to answer questions about why he was living apart from his family and staying at the home that also served as a day care. He explained that it allowed him to keep attending Leander, where he played football.
Earlier Monday, his defense team called witness after witness to testify about his reputation.
Kelley older brother and girlfriend both said Kelley was a truthful and law-abiding person who never did anything unusual while in the presence of children.
Leander High School head football coach Lee Bridges called Kelley a hard-working player who was always on time to early morning workouts.