GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — After being behind bars for more than three years, Greg Kelley was released on bond Tuesday afternoon after a Williamson County judge determined his case should be heard by the Court of Criminal Appeals.
The Greg Kelley Foundation posted a Facebook video around 1:30 p.m. stating they had a copy of the signed bond paperwork for Kelley. “Greg is coming home today,” said one of his supporters. Court filings show the order for release on bond was filed at 2:05 p.m. Aug. 22. with his bond set at $50,000.
As word spread that Kelley would be released on bond, friends and family gathered at the Williamson County Jail to greet him. At 2:41 p.m., Kelley walked out and his girlfriend Gaebri Anderson, who has been with him since high school, ran up to him and gave him a hug. The two embraced and shared a kiss. He then hugged his family members, including his mother, Rosa Kelley.
“I’m so grateful to finally be out,” Kelley told a crowd the crowd of reporters also waiting for him outside of the jail. “I’ve been waiting for this day a long time.”
Kelley had a message for the victim and their family. “I’m sorry, but, I didn’t do that to your child. Someday I hope I can meet you and can explain that it wasn’t me. I just hope that they can have peace at this moment.”
His release comes after a three-day hearing earlier this month. During the hearing, Kelley’s attorney presented a case pointing to another suspect would they say could have been responsible for the crime.
When the hearing ended on Aug. 4, Judge Donna King said she wouldn’t release Kelley on bond that day. She gave both parties until Aug. 18 to file their findings with the court.
In her findings of fact and conclusions of law, Judge King determined that Kelley’s conviction should be set aside because he was “denied due process by virtue of a deficient police investigation,” and he was also “denied the effective assistance of trial counsel.”
Because of those reasons, the judge is recommending the case to the Court of Criminal Appeals, which will make the final decision on the case.
According to the judge’s filing, Detective Christopher Dailey with the Cedar Park Police Department was “reckless and uninformed” in how he obtained an arrest warrant for Kelley without investigating the case further. The judge goes on to say Dailey’s decision to pursue the second victim’s case was “made in bad faith.”
In regards to Kelley’s original trial attorney, Patricia Cummings, the judge said after his conviction, his counsel was “emotionally distraught, never discussed the lack of identification, whether the evidence was sufficient, or the likelihood of any success on appeal,” which in turn violated his Sixth Amendment because she didn’t provide effective assistance of counsel in regards to waiving his right to appeal.
Kelley was originally convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison for the sexual assault of a child in 2014. The Williamson County District Attorney decided to reopen the case after receiving “credible evidence” from Kelley’s attorneys.
Johnathan McCarty, who has not been charged in this case, is now officially called a suspect by a Texas Ranger who testified during the hearing. He said McCarty, Kelley and another unnamed man are all suspects in the sexual assault.
Even though Kelley still hasn’t been ruled out as a suspect, his mother says she’s optimistic.
“Hopefully, everything is going to get better and better and my son will be exonerated,” said Rosa Kelley.
Kelley’s parents say the 22-year-old is already making plans as if he were a free man. They say thanks to a program that allowed him to take college courses while in jail, he’s six credit hours away from earning an Associate’s Degree. They say he plans to continue his education now that he’s been released. Kelley’s mother added that her son has received scholarship offers to go into ministry and is considering studying theology.
“There’s been a couple of football coaches inquire about him, university coaches,” smiled his father, Douglas Kelley.
Cedar Park Reacts
During Kelley’s hearing, the Texas Rangers investigation revealed possible deficiencies in how the Cedar Park Police Department investigated the case. A few weeks ago, the Cedar Park City Council called for an independent review of the police department’s policies and procedures. The city manager says she is currently working with the city attorney to develop a process and timeline for the independent review.
Police Chief Sean Mannix issued the following statement after Kelley was released: “I am aware of Judge King’s ruling in the Greg Kelley matter as well as the ongoing active investigation by the Texas Rangers. Everything in the criminal justice system should be open to judicial review and thorough examination. This matter is in the hands of the Court of Criminal Appeals and I trust that a full and fair examination of all evidence will take place. We are committed, as always, to transparency and are pleased to assist the District Attorney and the Texas Rangers with whatever they need moving forward.”