Man accused of 8 murders convicted of none, sentenced to 10 years

Published: Nov. 28, 2017 at 4:49 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 28, 2017 at 5:10 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Murder suspect Ricky Kelly's story sounds like a crime novel.

For years he's been in an out of court rooms, charged with eight murders in the Louisville area.

However, seven of the charges were d ropped so he could face federal charges in the 2005 shooting death of LaJuante BB Jackson.

Prosecutors feared they wouldn't be able to prove Kelly was responsible for all the others.

"We preserved our right to go back on all of these if something happens in federal court," then Commonwealth Attorney Dave Stengel said a few years ago.

And as it turns out, that's exactly what the state had to do.

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Federal prosecutors dismissed the case in 2014, after the murder of a key witness.

Gregory Sawyers told investigators he saw Kelly shoot LaJuante Jackson. Sawyers was murdered in July of 2013. His alleged killer was acquitted two years later.

Later in 2014 the state went after the death penalty against Kelly, but the murder of their eye witness had thrown a wrench in the plans.

Kelly entered a guilty plea to manslaughter in the first degree in Jackson's case on Monday, just days before his trial.

Following the plea, Commonwealth Attorney Tom Wine stated:

"This case has been particularly challenging in light of the murder of key witness, Gregory Sawyer, in July of 2013. In any case where we are not able to go forward with all the witnesses, we have to balance the likelihood of conviction from a jury which is denied the full picture with the certainty of an immediate conviction through a plea. This plea represents a choice that we feel most benefits the family of the victim and the safety of the community. By holding Kelly accountable for Mr. Jackson's death and by ensuring that he remains in custody until he is at least 53 years old, we hope that this conviction accomplishes these goals."

On Tuesday, Elizabeth Jones Brown, the prosecuting attorney spoke to WAVE 3 News, saying she didn't believe there was enough evidence to convict.

"At this point, I don't know that there is enough evidence to indict him," Brown said. "Obviously there are still open cases within the homicide division of the Louisville Metro Police Department... but we don't have... at this point... no."

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