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Texas district attorney says system failed in case of man convicted of sexual assault

Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick

Texas district attorney says system failed in case of man convicted of sexual assault

Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick says the criminal justice system failed in the prosecution of Greg Kelley.

Kelley was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison for the sexual assault of a 4-year-old child in 2014. But the conviction was thrown into doubt when Kelley’s defense team found that another man, who used to be Kelley’s best friend, might have committed the crime.

The case was reopened earlier this year after evidence emerged that a man named Johnathan McCarty confessed to a friend that he molested the child in question. Pictures of naked children were also discovered on McCarty’s computer.

Kelley, a former high school football star, is now out on bail, and it appears increasingly likely that he will be exonerated. He was 19 at the time of his conviction and is now 22.

Earlier this month, Dick said he would not have tried Kelley if he’d been the elected prosecutor in Williamson County at the time of the trial. He also expressed anger and frustration over what occurred, suggesting that responsibility “lies at the foot of law enforcement, of the prosecutors, of his defense team and of the jury.”

“My commitment is to restore the public’s faith and trust in our criminal justice system,” said Dick, who took office in January. “I can’t do that by defending a prosecution like Mr. Kelley’s.”

“We have to make sure that innocent people, that an innocent person isn’t convicted, and sometimes that is very unsatisfying because it means potentially a guilty person is set free,” Dick said. “But, the goal of our office is to make sure the public can believe in our system and that when jurors go to court, they know that when the state stands up, they’re telling the truth.”

Dick also said the Cedar Park Police Department’s investigation was “wholly deficient.” According to local news reports, the department never investigated or questioned McCarty, despite the fact that his name came up during the initial investigation, he was living in the home where his mother ran an in-home day care center at the time of the alleged assault, and he and McCarty “looked strikingly similar at the time.

Jana Duty was the Williamson County District Attorney at the time Kelley was prosecuted. Dick defeated her in a March 2016 primary and later won the general election, running unopposed.

One of the jurors from Kelley’s trial said he believed Kelly was innocent but voted to convict under pressure from other jurors. That juror now says Kelley should be exonerated and he regrets caving to the pressure to convict.

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