Prosecutor: Suspect in 8 Louisville murders could be freed before trial

Ricky Kelly (source: Louisville Metro Department of Corrections)
Ricky Kelly (source: Louisville Metro Department of Corrections)

By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – To say that the case against Ricky Kelly is complicated is an understatement. Hours of taped statements, stacks of documents, and mounds of evidence are all stacked against the 40-year-old who charged in connection with eight area murders.

Investigators claim his killing rampage stretches from 1996 to 2006, including victims Gail Duncan Deron Cole, and John Sanders all in 1996; Charles Lewis and Blair Kidwell in 1998; Craig Jones and Lajuante Jackson in 2005; and Warren King in 2006.

Kelly was arrested in the summer of 2010, and time is not on the side of the Commonwealth Attorney's office.

"If we do not try Mr. Kelly and do not start that trial within 180 days, we will be looking at eight murder indictments that will have to be dismissed and that obviously gives the commonwealth great pause and we would rather not take that chance," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Van De Rostyne.

That's because Kelly's right to a speedy trial could be violated by additional delays.  That's been partially complicated due to all the evidence, and the time it takes for the Commonwealth Attorney's Office to deliver it to the Defense.

Kelly then also has the right to look at that information to determine how he wishes to proceed, and then give his attorney's enough time to devise a plan.  That could be jeopardized if all the information isn't handed over quickly.

The defense says it has a list of 63 issues to resolve with the prosecution; so far, only 15 have been resolved.

Both sides are now aiming for a June or July 2011 trial date, putting further pressure on a quick resolution to come about.

This comes at a time where Judge Irv Maze and the prosecution must also determine how much information is too much in a such a case.

In a rare move, part of the evidence and at least one of the hearings have been sealed or closed off from the media and the public.

The judge won't cite specifics for now, saying safety is at stake, but the move still has The Courier Journal upset.

"That's the first we've ever heard about that.  there are very limited circumstances if it can be proven that someone's safety is an issue and then only a very limited seal order can be done," said Courier Journal Attorney Kenyon Meyer.

A ruling on that is expect in the few days and will likely be addressed at the February 14 court date.

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