The Cedar Park City Council held a special called meeting on Thursday to address the latest developments in the Greg Kelley case. Kelley was convicted in 2014 for child sexual assault, spending three years in prison before being bonded out to Williamson County in 2017. Last week, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Kelley’s 25-year sentence, agreeing with 26th District Court Judge Donna King, who, prior to the appellate court’s decision, ruled that Kelley was given ineffective counsel and was denied due process by Cedar Park police investigators.
Once the floor was opened for public comment, several supporters chided both the city council and the police department for the events which led to Kelley’s wrongful conviction.
“I have some real concerns about the case involving Greg Kelley’s wrongful conviction,” one man said.
“You guys don’t care about fairness. You don’t care about justice. This is a C-Y-A situation,” said another.
But perhaps the most emotional moment came when Rosa Kelley, Greg’s mother, took to the podium to make her voice heard, telling city officials she was there alone because her husband had recently died, never having seen his son’s name cleared.
“He passed away five months ago waiting for this day,” she said. “He’s not here, but I am. And he always asked me, ‘Rosa, make sure when they exonerate my boy, the people have to pay for their mistakes!’”
While Greg Kelley did not speak during the meeting, he did address reporters afterward.
“It absolutely kills me that they took the last remaining years of my dad’s life from me. I could not be with him,” he said. “They took vital moments that I could’ve spent with my dad, and I want them to feel that in their heart.”
Following last week’s decision by the Court of Criminal Appeals to overturn Kelley’s conviction, Cedar Park Police Chief Sean Mannix issued a statement indicating that part of the reason was because new evidence had surfaced, and not because of shoddy police work. Attorney Keith Hampton said that statement was “demonstrably wrong.”
“All nine judges agreed that Greg Kelley was innocent. They agreed that he proved by clear and convincing evidence that no reasonable jury would convict him,” Hampton said.
Five of the nine judges also agreed with Judge Donna King’s ruling that Kelley was denied due process during the investigation, specifically through the work of Detective Chris Dailey, whose investigation was key to securing Kelley’s conviction.
“Detective Dailey’s decision to obtain an arrest warrant, commencing process of prosecution without further investigation, deprived applicant of due process. His action was reckless and uninformed,” Hampton stated as he read directly from the court’s ruling.
Kelley and his supporters are demanding justice, which includes the firing of both Mannix and Dailey.
Chief Mannix said he has heard the criticisms surrounding the case and has taken actions to address them.