Accused hit man will not face death penalty


by WHAS11

Posted on January 31, 2013 at 7:19 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 1 at 12:50 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- WHAS11 has learned that accused killer, Ricky Kelly of Louisville, will not face the death penalty.

Kelly's attorney confirms the US Justice Department sent a letter this week saying they would not seek the death penalty against the accused hit man for drug dealers.

The federal government will not seek the death penalty for Kelly's co-defendant Dion Neal either.

Both are charged with the 2005 murder of a man in the Old Sheppard Square housing complex, as well as organized crime.

The following is a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office:

“Following the conclusion of the capital review process at the Dept. of Justice the decision was made not to seek the death penalty in the case of Ricky Kelly and Dion Neal.  The max sentence that Kelly and Neal now face is life imprisonment without parole.”

One of Kelly’s attorneys Patrick Renn said it comes down to time for his client.

"What it's going to mean though is the case is going to be heard a whole lot sooner, which is what he wants because he's incarcerated right now and has been wanting his opportunity to go before a jury,"  Renn said.

Had this case become a matter of life and death, the trial could have been put off for another two years. It would’ve lasted for 2 to 4 months. Now, it could be closer to 2-3 weeks. Renn also argued that it will save taxpayer money.

"In a case where the evidence is this weak, you shouldn't go and spend $1 or $2 million to prosecute and defend this kind of case," Renn siad.

Kelly's case could go to trial at the end of this year.