In 2012, Greg Kelley was arrested at his high school on child sex assault charges in a case that has now been thrown into doubt
A former high school football star has been released on bond three years into a 25-year sentence for child molestation, after police found new evidence pointing to his friend as the suspect.
Gregory Raymond Kelley, 22, was greeted by his tearful girlfriend and mother as he walked free on a $50,000 bond on Thursday in Austin, Texas, after a judge blasted the ‘reckless and uninformed’ investigation.
Kelley was convicted of super-aggravated sexual assault of a child in 2014, based on the testimony of a four-year-old boy who attended the home daycare of his friend’s mother.
Now, new evidence has thrown the entire case into doubt, and police say they are looking at that friend, as well as one other unnamed suspect.
Freedom: Kelley walked free on bond Tuesday in Austin, Texas after a judge called the police investigation is his case ‘deficient’. He served three years of a 25-year sentence
Kelley’s high school girlfriend Gaebri Anderson never doubted his innocence and was there to greet him alongside his family when he walked free on bond
Mistaken Identity? New suspect Jonathan McCarty (left) and freed man Greg Kelley (right) were not only best friends in high school, but looked very similar
The shocking saga began in August of 2012, when police arrived on the campus of Leander High School, where Kelley was a star football player, and led him away in handcuffs.
Two four-year-old boys who attended the Cedar Park home daycare run by Shama McCarty, the mother of Kelley’s football teammate, had come forward with allegations of abuse.
Police apparently connected Kelley with the alleged abuse based solely on the suggestion of one of the boy’s parents, according to a judge’s findings on Tuesday.
One of the two boys recanted his statements at trial, and Kelley was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison based on the testimony of the other boy.
But photos show that, at the time, Kelley looked very similar to his friend Johnathan Ralph McCarty, whose mother ran the day care.
As well, there was no in-court identification of Kelley as the person who committed the abuse, according to court records.
Kelley’s mother and other family members embraced him tearfully as he walked free on bond
Kelley and Anderson embrace after a court hearing in June, as new evidence emerged that the police investigation into the child molestation case against him had serious flaws
A later investigation by the Texas Rangers found serious flaws in the local police investigation, including contamination between the witnesses and changing the suspected date of the offense to match when Kelley was staying in the McCarty home.
‘Greg Kelley was their suspect,’ Ranger Cody Mitchell testified at a later hearing. ‘They believed that Greg Kelley moved out of the house on that date, and they backtracked [the offense] a month, and month and a half, two months from that date that he moved out.’
McCarty is seen in a mugshot from May. He is currently jailed on unrelated drug charges
‘They were concentrating on time frames he was there.’
In a ruling released on Tuesday, 26th District Court Judge Donna King found that the ‘deficient’ police investigation violated Kelley’s due process.
Police appeared to have zeroed in on Kelley to the exclusion of other suspects, but it may not have been entirely the investigators’ fault.
Emails revealed on Tuesday purport to show that Kelley refused to participate in any investigation of his friend Johnathan McCarty, and defended McCarty against any theories presented by investigators.
Police say they now consider McCarty and one other unnamed man as suspects in the case.
McCarty currently in jail on unrelated drug charges.
After a hearing earlier this month, Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick released a statement calling the case a ‘catastrophic failure’ of the criminal justice system.