Hundreds come out in support of Greg Kelley as opponents worry for child victims

Supporters rally for Greg Kelley on June 1 (KXAN photo)
Supporters rally for Greg Kelley on June 1 (KXAN photo)

GEORGETOWN, Texas — Greg Kelley supporters came together outside the Justice Center in Williamson County Thursday night, calling for his release from prison. They’ve ramped up efforts after Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick announced he is re-opening the case based on new, credible evidence someone else may have committed the crime. This sexual assault case was tried under the previous DA.

In this case, there’s the victim who was just 4 years old at the time the abuse happened and a man now 22 years old, who supporters say is another victim, blamed for a crime they say he didn’t do.

Without support from the Greg Kelley Foundation, which she calls a family, Rosa Kelley says she wouldn’t be speaking publicly. She said their love and support has meant a lot for her family. The last time she was at the justice center for a rally was when her son, Greg Kelley, was arrested.

Thursday, she said was different. The energy, she said filled with hope and justice, rather than judgment for a crime.

“It strikes a nerve with me because it could have been any of us,” Jake Brydon, who helps run the Greg Kelley Foundation told KXAN. “We’re just asking him [the DA] to let him out on bond while we go through the legal process of having this corrected.”

Brydon contributed to Dick’s campaign back in October 2015, hoping for a change in leadership.

“We felt that that was an important thing to do, to make sure that Williamson County got what it deserved, which is a better district attorney,” he said.

Dick told KXAN hundreds of people donated to his campaign — public records show from July of last year through this January, the DA took in more than $106,000 — but none had any bearing on his decision to reopen the Kelley case.

“People try to use politics to somehow insinuate that the system isn’t fair or proper,” he told KXAN. “It’s an unfortunate side effect of being in a political position. Those things don’t influence me at all.”

The Texas Ethics Commission says there are no contribution limits for district attorneys, but like all candidates, they are banned from taking money from most corporations and labor unions.

Dick says his decision to reopen the case was based solely on the evidence brought forward. Evidence he says he couldn’t ignore.

Lindsay Armstrong has followed the case, as a survivor of sexual abuse.

“When I was about the same age as the boy that came forward and testified against Greg, there was no confusion on my part at all about who abused me. I knew his name, I knew his face. It’s been 20 years and I can still point him out in a crowd to you. It’s not something that was easily forgotten,” she said, telling KXAN she believes the boy who testified against Kelley knows what he saw.

Armstrong said a lot time, in these types of cases, a child’s word is the only evidence investigators have. A power, she says, that should be preserved.

“If that’s all you have and you take that away from them, you’re making it so other children won’t ever come forward. Instead of the fear into abusers to stop abusing, you’re putting the fear into the child to stop testifying,” she said. “That’s insanity to me that we would do that as a community to children.”

Kelley’s mother told KXAN, “It is hard. But it’s why we want justice. Because justice will stand up for what happened to that child. And justice will free my son.”

Dick confirmed there is an investigation into an alternate suspect, named Johnathan McCarty. It’s important to note he has not been charged. McCarty’s mother operated the home day care where the 4-year-old victim said he was sexually assaulted. The defense claims someone overheard McCarty admit to the crime. They also say there were photos of naked children on McCarty’s cell phone. Investigators are looking into those claims.

Dick told KXAN he’s received more than 300 phone calls saying he needs to release Kelley from prison. Something he told us he won’t do, though he does wish the new hearing was sooner — to get evidence out in the public eye. Right now, the hearing is scheduled to begin August 3.

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