Family, friends react to Ricky Kelly plea deal

Former LMPD officer and current Metro Councilman David James says Ricky Kelly only facing manslaughter in a murder case is a flaw in our justice system.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – David James, now a Metro Councilman, is not happy with the new plea deal reached in the case of Ricky Kelly, just days before Kelly was set to stand trial.

 

Under that deal, Kelly pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2005 death of LaJuante Jackson. 

 

The court sentenced Kelly to 10 years, he must serve 85 percent of that before he's eligible for parole.

 

At one point, Kelly was charged with 8 murders, including the death of Gail Duncan, whom David James worked with while he was a police officer.

 

Twenty-year-old Deron Cole, a former Eastern High School student was gunned down back in 2005. His murder was linked to Ricky Kelly, but Kelly never was convicted or charged in Cole's death.

 

"Kelly did go to prison or is going to prison, but a lot of people died along the way," James said.

 

After news of Kelly's plea deal of first-degree manslaughter, Cole's mother talked to WHAS11 saying, "That's not justice, he gets to still come out and live his life. What kind of justice is ten years?" 

 

Elizabeth Jones Brown, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney said, "No I'm not happy with ten years but I'm happy that there was a conviction." 

 

In April 1996, 42-year-old Gail Duncan, a narcotics drug informant was gunned down in front of her 9-year-old daughter at her home on 23rd and Chestnut.

 

"We worked together, and when she was killed it was devastating to our entire unit because we had worked closely with her, very closely," James said.

 

James worked in Louisville narcotics and knows the Ricky Kelly saga all too well.

 

"He was suspected of being hired by many of the dope dealers to do killings, many of the drug dealers were scared of him actually because he was just so unpredictable," he said.

 

Kelly was also once linked to Duncan's murder.  

 

"Even though we had taped interviews with our informant, we weren’t able to use those against him because it had to be her actually speaking and he knew that so he had her killed and that's a flaw in our system," James said.

 

News of the plea deal is upsetting to many. Cole's mother, regarding her pain tells us, "I'm never going to be healed from this." 

Prosecutors say they don't have enough evidence to connect Kelly to any other murders, only manslaughter in the death of LaJuante Jackson. 

 

With this 10-year first-degree manslaughter sentence, Kelly will receive time served after the expiration of his other sentences.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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