GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — The man who killed Hutto Police Sgt. Chris Kelley will spend the rest of his life in prison. When the sentencing came down, Kelley’s family were holding hands and tears streamed down their faces.
The morning started with many emotions and ended with the same. The state called four witnesses to testify in the sentencing of Williamson. A jury convicted Williamson last week in Kelley’s death. It took them less than a few hours to make a decision on Williamson’s sentencing.
Michele Kelley, the fallen officer’s wife, was the last person to testify. She says her two children were at camp when she got the news that their father was killed. She said her daughter ran in the house saying she had the best day because she had passed her swim test.
“Immediately afterward I had to shatter her life. I brought her in the room and I had to tell her that daddy was with Jesus now,” said Michele with tears in her eyes. The widow says she lost her best friend when Kelley was killed.
Michele says she and her two children still go to weekly counseling just to get by, but she says life without her husband is a constant struggle. “When your kids scream out every night on how they miss daddy, I don’t know what to do with that,” said Michele tearfully.
Kelley’s father, Jack Kelley, also took the stand. He talked about a picture of him and Chris together, both in their service uniforms. Jack is a Navy veteran and Kelley served in the Air Force. “He was better than me,” said Jack with tears in his eyes.
Deputy Paul Leal also testified about the day he tried to save Kelley after Williamson ran him over with Kelley’s own patrol car in June 2015. At the time, Leal was working for the Hutto Police Department, and was the first person to give Kelley CPR. Leal testified he did everything to try to save Kelley. “I felt hopeless to stop the bleeding,” said Leal as he cried recalling that day.
Cpl. Chris Vela with Hutto police said Kelley was his best friend. They met each other working for the University of Texas at Austin Police Department in 2006. Vela said he followed Kelley to Hutto PD. “At the end of the day we were friends first, coworkers second,” said Vela. “We just miss our friend.”
The defense called one witness Monday, the mother of Williamson’s nearly 3-year-old son. Jennifer Herrin testified that Williamson is “such a good man” and that she’s never seen him hurt anyone.
Williamson grandfather is asking Kelley’s family to try to forgive Williamson for what he did, saying he didn’t mean to kill Sgt. Kelley. “Hopefully one day they see in their hearts to forgive because they should. The good Lord says that you have to,” said CR Williamson.
Victims’ Impact Statement
After the sentencing was read, Kelley’s sister, mother, father and wife all took the stand to read impact statements, some on behalf of children.
Kelley’s sister read a statement from Kelley’s niece. “My uncle has missed out on so many things that weren’t even his fault because of you,” read Kelley’s sister. “I honestly hope you rot in prison.”
Kelley’s father said, “You owe me a son, you owe me a life.”
“We don’t feel sorry for you, because of you Chris will never see his kids grow up,” said Michele.
Williamson must serve 30 years before he is eligible for parole. He does receive credit for the two-and-a-half years he has already served since he was arrested in 2015.
Full Coverage of the Trial: