What If He Didn’t Do It?

The Maybe God Podcast team recently sat down with Greg and Gaebri Kelley, featured on the recent Showtime docu-series "Outcry", to share one of the most chilling and troubling cases of wrongful accusation you’ll ever hear. It’s the heartbreaking, gut-wrenching story of two young people in love who fought for justice against all odds, and found God along the way.
For more of Greg & Gaebri's story, visit sho.com/outcry to stream the entire docu-series.

"I look at my life like a chapter book where in the beginning of the book Greg Kelley was a high school kid playing football, hoping to get out of Leander, Texas and play ball. But his life gets completely derailed. He has to face this injustice. This nightmare. Has to fight for his life with a beautiful family by his side who believed in him. A town divided. Being painted as a monster. But you cannot control the cards that are dealt to you in life. What you can control is how you react to them."
- Greg Kelley

The gut-wrenching story of two young people in love who fought for justice against all odds, and found God along the way.

Featured Media

"Outcry" on Showtime

Read Full Transcript

Andrea Gentle:
Attention parents. This episode of Maybe God contains adult content that may not be suitable for younger audiences.
Sarah:
We got a call from child protective services that we were under investigation, and they asked us to come in for an interview. And of course we panicked because we had no idea what we could possibly be under investigation for. And real quickly figured out that it was me, who was being accused of child abuse. And it was so shocking. And I could not figure out where it's coming from.
Eric Huffman:
Have you ever been accused of something you didn't do? I asked my followers on Twitter for their craziest false accusation stories, and I couldn't believe how shocking some of your stories were.
Sarah:
I told the interviewer, I said, "This is crazy." I mean, I don't even spank my kids. And she said, "Your son was overheard saying, I want to kill my mom." And I said, Oh, I said, "Well, that's very out of character for him." And he probably had just learned what kill means. And she was extremely accusatory. "I think you're lying," she says. So it was so tense. So scary, honestly.
Melanie:
So I was a junior in high school and I was called out my English class. And I was told to report to the principal's office as a goody two shoes. I was really embarrassed and mortified that my classmates had heard me get called down to the principal's office of all places. Once I was in his office, he accused me of vandalizing, the women's restroom, which I absolutely had not done. He asked me several times to confess and I just couldn't because I hadn't done it. We sat there for what felt like forever and just going back and forth. I kept denying, I kept telling him I had been in class that he could check with my friends check with everyone. They know where I was.
Jim:
So I was in a fraternity and I think I had been to this party for a minute, but I had to do something else study or whatever. And so I left and I hear later on that there had been this fight. And I think the next day I hear start hearing whispers from fraternity brothers, that the police are looking for me. So somehow I get into the police station and they've got a yearbook. I did not know this then, but I know this now that police and prosecutors, and there are no rules for them. They can say anything that they want to say and try to get you to confess to something. So they're telling me that the victim and that some other of my fraternity brothers have picked out my photo in this yearbook. And they're pointing to my picture saying you were there and you were the one that did this. And I said, "Well, that's absurd because I wasn't even there." That was scary. I'd never been in a police station as an accused person, just wild and anxiety and just fear. It was crazy.
Eric Huffman:
Today on Maybe God, one of the most chilling and troubling cases of wrongful accusation you'll ever hear. It's the heartbreaking gut-wrenching story of two young people in love who fought for justice against all odds and found God along the way.
(MGP intro)
Eric Huffman:
A few months ago, Andrea Gentle, a Maybe God's super fan turned producer told our executive producer, Julie, about this Showtime docu-series called Outcry, which follows the case of Greg Kelley, a high school student who was accused of a truly monstrous crime. I started watching the series on a Friday afternoon and I was so captivated that I watched all five hours of Outcry by Sunday night. I think what makes Greg stories so compelling is that it could happen to any one of us in a world where accusations are so often litigated in the court of public opinion and where legal authorities often double as ambitious politicians. Anyone can be accused and found guilty of anything, whether without sufficient evidence, any given day, any one of us can be wrongfully accused and like, Greg, be left to wonder, why is this happening to me?
Eric Huffman:
I'm so glad to see you all.
Gaebri Kelley:
Yeah. We're happy to meet you first fully.
Greg Kelley:
Yeah. Appreciate this. Nice to meet.
Eric Huffman:
Yeah. Thank you. Nice to meet you all [crosstalk 00:05:16].
Eric Huffman:
As I heard Greg and his then girlfriend Gaebri, tell their story on Showtime. I knew there was more going on than just a legal struggle while the docu-series didn't quite capture it. It was obvious to me that Gaebri and Greg believed their battle was primarily spiritual. This is the side of their story. That's never been told before. And it's something they've wanted to share for a long time.
Greg Kelley:
My name is Gregory Kelley and 25 years old. This is my beautiful wife Gaebri. We are out of Austin, Texas.
Eric Huffman:
Greg and Gaebri grew up in Leander, Texas, a fast-growing suburb, 22 miles outside of Austin in Williamson County. Williamson County is a conservative, no nonsense County that takes law enforcement very seriously. It's been said, if you're going to do it, don't do it in Williamson County.
Gaebri Kelley:
We met and I think it was seventh grade we met. We were becoming friends and then we had a math class together, eighth grade, and instantly just hit it off as best friends. And from there, I mean, it was pretty crazy that we started dating in eighth grade.
Greg Kelley:
We were young, So we were flirting with each other. And a few short weeks later, I asked her to be my girlfriend and we just started to get to know each other, even more going in through high school.
Eric Huffman:
Greg was a high school football star. And at the time Leander boosted one of the best football programs in the state. To give you an idea of football's importance in Leander, the high school stadium seats, 12,000 fans, but the big game still draw standing room only crowds. Greg was good enough to start for the varsity squad as a sophomore and his coaches raved about his athleticism and his maturity.
Coach:
His intelligence level, his physical-ness, his size of those were all things that just pointed that he was going to be a really, really good football player for Leander High, for his whole hospital career.
Eric Huffman:
Gaebri was more than just Greg's girlfriend. She was the captain of the Leander Blue Belles. The high school dance team. And together they were the it couple on campus. How big a part of your life was football in high school?
Greg Kelley:
It was really big. I come from a family where mom, dad worked really hard. My mom worked really hard. They provided for all four of my brothers, including me. I knew that I had to get a scholarship and I loved playing sports. So I wanted to go and get it. And so in high school, I got really serious with just football and running track. I woke up every day, 5:00 AM, go hit the gym, go practice, go to school, spend time with Gaebri and do it all over again. So football was a huge part of my life in high school. I knew that it was the ticket to get me out of Leander and go be successful.
Eric Huffman:
Right. Were you eyeing the NFL at that point in your life?
Greg Kelley:
I was, yeah. I think it's almost every kid's dream that has college opportunities to hopefully go and make it to the NFL. It's a whole lot of hard work, a whole lot of talent. And so I had a dream of making it to the NFL. I still actually do.
Eric Huffman:
Gaebri. Greg shared that dream. Both were well on their way. During his junior year, Greg got full scholarship offers from Rice University, Texas State, and the University of Texas at San Antonio enough to make any mom proud.
Greg Kelley:
So my mom is a fantastic woman and one of the strongest women I've ever met in my life, she worked like a horse. I mean, she had her own house cleaning service for 30 years. I still remember as a kid, she used to take me with her to clean these houses and put me to work. And still to this day, I think a lot of the work ethic that I've learned was from her.
Eric Huffman:
Greg's mom, Rosa is an immigrant from Guatemala, not did she teach her sons about the value of hard work. She also wanted them to know God. So every Sunday morning she dragged the boys to church with her. But Greg admits he rarely paid attention in church. He was always thinking about what they were going to eat afterwards or about his next football game.
Greg Kelley:
Little did I know that even though I wasn't fully there, there were still seeds being planted into my life. These lessons to be learned that that were exposed to me at such a young age. These things I learned were really going to make the difference on the tough road that I had ahead.
Eric Huffman:
During Gregs junior year, both of his parents suffered major medical emergencies. His mom developed a brain tumor.
Greg Kelley:
It was really devastating. It was really hard to come to grasp with that.
Eric Huffman:
And his dad barely survived a stroke.
Greg Kelley:
The biggest stroke that you possibly could get, it took away half the side of his body.
Eric Huffman:
With both parents undergoing medical treatment outside of their home. And his older brother is having already moved out. Greg was left to fend for himself.
Greg Kelley:
Our house being about 20 minutes away from the high school, we lived out in the country with my parents being gone. There was no way for me to get to school. So I had a friend at the time that I knew since middle school.
Eric Huffman:
That friend was Johnathan McCarty. The McCarty house was the high school hangout where Greg and Gaebri spent a lot of time playing video games and hanging out with their friends. Jonathan was a sophomore, also a football player and looked remarkably similar to Greg.
Greg Kelley:
His mom, Shama McCarty was a big football booster. So when she caught wind, knowing that both of my parents were medically ill, she offered to open up her home to me. So I could continue to go to Leander High School
Rosa:
When they came and offer that Gregory can come home with them and I say, Shama. I said, "Well, let me think about." I usually remember she grabbed me from my shoulders and she said to me, "Rosa let me do this." She says, "This is the way I get my blessings. Let me have my blessings."
Greg Kelley:
So I decided to move in. And I moved in there for almost a year. And towards the end of that year, I got accused of a thing that completely derailed my life.
Eric Huffman:
Fast forward to 2013. The summer before Greg's senior year of high school in June, he signed with UT San Antonio and committed to play football there after graduating. His mom was getting better and she was back at home. So he moved out of the McCarty house and back in with her. Greg spent his summer days at strength and conditioning camp for athletes Leander High. He'd been back with his mom for about a month when one afternoon, as he was leaving camp.
Greg Kelley:
I check my phone. And I see a bunch of texts from my brother. And he said, "Hey, if you're thinking about coming to Shama's don't because something's going on here. Some dads here saying that you did something to a son, I'm trying to get to the bottom of this.' And when I first saw that I thought, my brother was joking with me, but I assumed realized that this was not a joking matter. I was actually getting accused of doing something to a child. I immediately called him and he reiterated what he said in the text. And I said, "Dude, I don't know what's going on, but who do I need to talk to? Who do I need to talk to, to let them know that you got the wrong guy? Why are you making these accusations up?" And he said, "Don't man, this guy's really mad." The next thing you know, a week later, I'm getting a call from the Cedar Park Police Department saying that, "Hey, this is detective daily. I need to talk to you. This and that." I was completely scared.
Eric Huffman:
A four year old boy who attended Shama's in-home daycare told his parents that Greg had molested him at the McCarty house. The Outcry came at the end of July weeks after Greg had moved back home. Greg claims, he never went back to Shamas after moving out. What exactly was the accusation?
Greg Kelley:
The accusation was sexual assault of a child. They were accusing me of penetrating this kid with my genitals and specifically they were accusing me of sticking my penis in a kid's mouth. My brother told me that this is what the dad is saying that you did to this kid. And I immediately started crying. I'm you just started getting angry. I was like, I don't know why somebody is accusing me of this. And it just seemed like this snowball effect was just getting worse and worse and worse because nobody was really trying to get down to the bottom of it. I think everybody was just getting fed up with the emotions on it and how severe it was that nobody really wanted to seek the truth in this thing.
Eric Huffman:
Yeah. So Gaebri talk to me about what that day was like for you.
Gaebri Kelley:
So he first actually went to my dad and pretty much explained what was happening, but I remember him calling me and I don't think I really comprehended what you was saying because it was so out of this world and an awful and I pretty much just remember bawling my eyes out and curling up until a little ball and I didn't know what to do next. I didn't know what was going to happen to him. I didn't know what was going to happen to us.
Eric Huffman:
So can an 18 year old mind comprehend how serious that is?
Greg Kelley:
No, I did not understand the seriousness of the situation. I knew that getting accused of a sex offense is the most frowned upon thing in the world. So with that comes, the voice thing that I thought of was, man, I do want to go to prison or I do not want to have my face plastered on the media because at that point I was a football player with a scholarship. And that's exactly what happened. Turned from Greg Kelley star football player at Leander High School to Greg Kelly being accused of sexual assault of a child. That right there, dang near, made me want to not get up out of bed because I was so depressed. I was so broken. I was so hurt.
Eric Huffman:
Right. I can't imagine it. And especially in a world that's so connected digitally with Twitter and everything like the accusations that people throw around, they never go away.
News anchor:
First, our local high school football player arrested on a child sex abuse charge.
News anchor:
The Leander high school student is accused of sexually assaulting a young child.
News anchor:
A preschool aged boy made an outcry to the mother saying he was sexually assaulted by Kelly on two occasions [crosstalk 00:15:43].
Eric Huffman:
Well, I think it's obvious that the court of public opinion is as decisive and vicious as it has ever been in our culture today because people are deemed guilty by the judge, jury and executioner of Twitter or Facebook or whatever, before there's even charges filed these days. If there's even a rumor, your life can be ruined. Gaebri, I think especially about you at this point in the story, you're going into your senior year to right at that point and teenagers are not known for being very nice and gracious people generally. So what kind of stuff did you face as the girlfriend of this man?
Gaebri Kelley:
Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of the times we try to highlight all the good stuff, but there were definitely the Twitter trolls and Instagram comments and Facebook posts. And there are people that are honest. They're really good friends in high school that kind of switched over to being like, "Oh my gosh, he did this," and posting about him. And I think the most nerve wracking thing was me going back to school without Greg. I had to go through my senior year with out him in the hallways. I remember being in my mom's office and just being like, "I do not want to go out there. I don't know what people are going to do." And I'm going emotional talking about it. I just remember being so scared.
Eric Huffman:
Greg was expelled from Leander High School and sent to the Williamson County Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program for his senior year. It was a correctional school where students were military uniforms and take orders from drill instructors. Meanwhile, detective Dailey and the DA's office were continuing to pursue Greg as the only suspect in the case, his mother Rosa knew that it was time to hire a lawyer, but she had no idea where to start. So Shama recommended an attorney named Patricia Cummings and offered to call her office on Rose's behalf.
Greg Kelley:
She put down a very high dollar sign to do it, and it really freaked us out and made us anxious because we just didn't have money.
Eric Huffman:
How'd you pay for it?
Greg Kelley:
My mom sold the house that we grew up in for cash to be able to pay it. I mean, still to this day, it makes me emotional because that's the house where we've made a lot of memories.
Eric Huffman:
In August, 2013, the DA's office formerly charged Greg with super aggravated sexual assault of a child, a charge that carries an especially harsh penalty because it only applies to child victims under six years old. If convicted the minimum sentence is 25 years without the possibility of parole, the maximum penalty is life in prison. His attorney, Patricia Cummings broke the news to Greg.
Greg Kelley:
When she told me that my heart sunk into my stomach. I remember I went to the bathroom and started throwing up. That's how sick I was to hear that. That's me, Greg Kelley. I'm trying to tell you that I did not do this. I'm innocent of this. And you want to send me to prison for the rest of my life. I just felt so hopeless. I felt like they were just about to kill me. And so that was so scary man.
Eric Huffman:
Made this all especially scary for Greg was that no one in power seemed remotely interested in pursuing other suspects. From the very beginning, the authorities and Williamson County were locked into their narrative, that Greg was guilty and they seemed willing to overlook any evidence that posed a threat to their theory. Greg's name was originally brought into this heartbreaking case by the victim's father who reported to Cedar Park Police, that his four-year-old son said he was sexually assaulted at Shama's house by a big kid named Greg Kelley. The case was assigned to detective Chris Dailey and the Showtime docu-series revealed that Dailey didn't compile a list of people living in the McCarty house at the time of the assault. He didn't talk to any other adults in the house like Shama and her employees at the daycare, or even to her son, Jonathan McCarty.
Eric Huffman:
In fact, Dailey never even visited the McCarty house to investigate the scene of the alleged crime. But the most striking omission is that Dailey never asked the victim to identify Greg as the assailant. No one on Dailey's team ever showed the child a picture of Greg. There was never any kind of lineup where the victim recognized Greg, nothing. At one point, detective Dailey was asked, what would you say is the ultimate goal of a police investigation of criminal case? His answer was telling with no mention of justice or the truth he responded, "Successful prosecution." What do you think in terms of evidence was most damaging to your case.
Greg Kelley:
In terms of evidence, I mean, there was very little that could tie me to this crime and that's kind of what we're trying to show you. Like, "Hey, I didn't do this. Go follow the facts and go see." And that's all I wanted was an investigation because as a United States citizen, that's what I'm entitled to. That's my liberty is the right to due process. If somebody's guilty, go and prove that they're guilty. But if somebody is telling you they're innocent, then you better go and make sure that all your ducks lined up before you go and send an innocent man to prison.
Eric Huffman:
Yeah. I guess, real spread of evidence that led to the trial was the Outcry video of the first victim. And at some point along the journey, there was a second charge that was filed.
Greg Kelley:
Correct. Yeah, immediately a month after the original charge, they came into my classroom, put me in handcuffs, took me to Williamson County Jail. And the next thing you know, I'm getting charged with not only one child, but two now. Oh my gosh, I just was broken. I didn't even know what to even say. I mean, at that moment I felt like I was in the worst nightmare anybody could ever be in. Nobody's hearing me, nobody's listening to me, nobody's doing the investigation. They're just pursuing me. There's a big target on my back now. And now the court of public opinion saying, "Oh my gosh, he did it, this and that." So at that point, our town was getting completely divided from the people that loved me. And that knew who I was to the people that did not know me that wanted to hop on to the media. And it was terrible.
News anchor:
Just believe tonight in Leander following a high school football player, they're accused of sexually abusing a second preschool age child. Today, 18 year old Greg kelley-
Eric Huffman:
Even the people closest to you admitted at that point, they started to have doubts because that's human nature.
Greg Kelley:
Yeah.
Eric Huffman:
And you know how people think and how people might start to turn in their sentiments with a second accuser. Gaebri, how did the second accuser affect your mindset?
Gaebri Kelley:
I think my mindset kind of just went to, "Oh my gosh, this is going to change everyone's mind now," but I still didn't doubt him. I still didn't think he did it. I just knew him too well. And I knew what he isn't capable of and wouldn't do. I just was so scared of what everyone else was thinking now, because I didn't want to lose that support either. I didn't want him to lose that support.
Greg Kelley:
That was enough for me to stay strong. I mean, I know how people think and there's no woman out in the world that even compares to what type of woman Gaebri is to be able to stay by me like that.
Eric Huffman:
Right. I couldn't believe she stayed by you. I mean, you're a great guy enhancement all that. Did they, at any point come to you with any kind of a plea deal?
Greg Kelley:
They did. Yeah.
Eric Huffman:
Days before Greg's trial, the prosecutors offered him 10 years probation, lifetime sex offender registration, minimal jail time and some fines. But in exchange for that, he would have to admit in open court that he was guilty of sexual misconduct.
Greg Kelley:
I was completely disgusted at that point that they were going to offer me probation when they're trying to literally plaster my life as the worst child predator that Williamson County has ever seen. To me, that doesn't seem like justice all around. So I'm going to go ahead and say no to that.
Eric Huffman:
People who aren't from Texas will think that what I'm about to say is absolutely ridiculous. But I think that part of the Texas attitude, especially around sports and football and stuff, is that the worst thing you can possibly do is forfeit and just not show up to play.
Gaebri Kelley:
True.
Eric Huffman:
As something in our psyche, it's better to show up and lose than forfeit.
Gaebri Kelley:
Absolutely.
Eric Huffman:
Did any of that kind of spirit play into that decision?
Gaebri Kelley:
Oh, absolutely.
Greg Kelley:
Absolutely. I did not realize how much football and the lessons I've learned and the shootouts that I've had in the fifth quarter overtime and football games. And to just put your chin down and keep fighting until you go and you walk away with that win and that, and that overtime in that football game, how much those lessons were imprinted on my heart and my mind on my psyche, on my spirit, a lot of people would not have said no to that probation because you know, Williamson County has 98% conviction rate at that time. That promise you that there's probably hundreds of those cases where some people were innocent of what they're being accused of, but they were pressured into taking a plea deal because they knew that big, bad Williamson County was going to blow their house down if they didn't. And so at that point, I knew that I was going to fight until the very end. I could not go out into the world and tell them I did something I did not do.
Greg Kelley:
I told them, I looked at my mom and I remember my mom just breaking down. She started crying, man. She started weeping.
Eric Huffman:
She wanted to take it.
Greg Kelley:
The only thing in her head was they could kill you, Greg, if this goes wrong, I might never see you again. So I saw my mom breaking, when you see your mom break, you start to break.
Eric Huffman:
Of course.
Greg Kelley:
So I called Gaebri. I remember Gabrie so strong-willed she said, "Greg, remember that we got to continue to fight." And I remember telling her, "I just cannot go out there and said this." And we went to trial seven days.
Eric Huffman:
On July 2014, a jury was chosen and the trial of Texas vs Gregory Raymond Kelley began with the prosecutors arguing their case.
Courtroom nats:
The defendant is a dedicated football player, a devoted boyfriend, I guess safe around kids. He is who he needs to be in front of people.
Eric Huffman:
The most incriminating evidence was the first child's testimony about the assault, which he gave by closed circuit video from another courtroom, Greg watched from the defendant's table.
Courtroom nats:
You promise to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, right?
Greg Kelley:
Oh man, I also uncomfortable. It's so sad to see a kid have to be put in a situation. And then me being painted as the person who did this, what this kid is describing in this video is something that's so unsettling. It's so disgusting.
Eric Huffman:
But the second accuser's testimony didn't go as prosecutors planned. While on the stand, the boy fully recanted his allegations against Greg, which isn't surprising when you learn how officials obtained his outcry. After Greg was initially arrested, detective Dailey held a press conference, asking any families whose children had been molested by Greg to come forward. According to the Showtime docu-series after four days of nobody coming forward, Dailey cold called one of the dads from the daycare and intimated that Greg may have molested his son. To be clear, the boy made no outcry before Dailey placed that call. But upon hearing that his son may have been victimized. The father understandably allowed Dailey to set up a meeting at the Child Advocacy Center. In two separate interviews with the social worker, the four-year-old boy denied being mistreated or inappropriately touched by anyone at Shama's house. So Dailey took it upon himself to step in and conduct a third interview by asking questions that were unordinary if not unprofessional. Dailey was able to extract an outcry from the boy. The interview was caught on camera.
Chris Dailey:
My name is Chris Dailey, I'm a police officer. How are you?
Greg Kelley:
You see actually a police officer come into a room with a gun on his hip. No badge, sits down and completely does something that is out of his policy. He started asking questions like, hey, when did Greg do this to you? You told me that Greg did this to you. What did you tell your mother? What was he making you do? And the kid is constantly saying, no, no, I don't know. No. Eventually it got to a point where the kids knew that that's not what the police offers so wanted to hear. So a lot of child psychologists will back this up. But when that happens and the kid finally starts saying, yes, yes, yes. And he knew that, okay, now that's enough to go and pursue second charges for Greg Kelley.
Eric Huffman:
A prosecutor in the DA's office told Dailey that she wouldn't recommend filing charges based on the second child's outcry because of how it was obtained.
Courtroom nats:
I will not be comfortable with telling you to file charges. And he said, "Well, it strengthened the case against the first child."
Eric Huffman:
But that didn't stop Dailey.
Chris Dailey:
LM was too scared to make an offer and since I got that information as he was apprehended on as well. And the suspect was public, that it was a public safety concern.
Eric Huffman:
Adding a second victim seemed to bolster the prosecutor's case. But the moment that child admitted on closed circuit TV during Greg's trial, that his accusation was untrue. Daily's hopes of a successful prosecution took a major hit.
Courtroom nats:
Did you even touch Greg? What's your answer?
Courtroom nats:
No.
Courtroom nats:
Okay. Did Greg ever show you any emotion?
Courtroom nats:
No.
Greg Kelley:
Not only were they actually never in the courtroom, but they never actually properly identified me as the assailant. And that was a play on the DA's office for a reason, because the last thing the DA's office wanted was to see a kid and say, "I don't see that person here today."
Eric Huffman:
So Gaebri, I'm curious. I mean, you're there for the trial, right?
Gaebri Kelley:
So they actually made me stay out of the room because I was going to go on stand as well. But whenever I went on stand, they barely asked me anything. Like I didn't get to vouch for his character who he was as a person or anything. So I wasn't actually in the room until the very last day.
Eric Huffman:
Did either of you during the trial have any indication at all that maybe your attorney wasn't doing everything she could do to defend you?
Greg Kelley:
Absolutely, 100%.
Gaebri Kelley:
It's not even rocket science. Everyone in the courtroom was like, "What is going on? This is insane."
Greg Kelley:
So much to just think back on, you can clearly see the DA's office definitely create an agenda where they did not want people that wanted to vouch for my character to stay on the stand very long. We don't have evidence to prove that he did this crime. So what we're going to do is just paint him to be the person who did it. And so that's exactly what happened there. So when the DAs start playing that card, you have a defense attorney now that's supposed to say, "Oh, hold on a second. You're not going to play that card because I'm going to come back and rebuttal here." And Patricia didn't even create that avenue for that to happen. She pretty much went with the DA's office and just says, "Yeah, I don't have anything."
Gaebri Kelley:
But she prepped us to go on stand. Like we were going to answer all these questions and then nothing happened.
Eric Huffman:
What did you think then was her deal? Do you think she was just maybe a poor attorney or what did you think was going on?
Greg Kelley:
I have completely no idea. I mean, still to this day, we don't know why Patricia does the things she does.
Patricia Cummings:
I've been a lawyer for 23 years. And I've tried a lot of difficult cases. And I got to say, this has been the toughest one of my career, what a responsibility you have when you believe that your client is innocent. And on top of that you know you're dealing with one of the most emotional topics, which is child sexual abuse. And then there's this hammer that the state has chosen to use which is the super aggravated sexual assault, which means by God, if we don't get it and the jury doesn't get it right, it means potentially a life sentence for my 19 year old client.
Eric Huffman:
In preparation for the trial, Patricia hired Alan Kern, a private investigator to help build Greg's defense. After the trial, Kern testified under oath that he had shown Patricia side-by-side photos showing how Shama's son, Jonathan McCarty looked remarkably similar to Greg. And that Patricia's response was simply, we are not going to investigate. Jonathan. Mr. Kern also testified that he thought Patricia had a conflict of interest because she had represented the McCarty family previously.
Greg Kelley:
She represented all of Jonathan's brothers, not only in aggravated assault cases and robbery cases, but also sexual assault cases. So clearly there is conflict of interest there. And because Shama McCarty was the person who recommended Patricia Cummings to me. This has happened in Shama McCarty's house, they're friends. So I think Patricia came in that trial, not trying to find the truth, not fully trying to defend me, but to have me walk.
Eric Huffman:
So as you get ready for the verdict, did you think your chances were good?
Greg Kelley:
We were very optimistic. We were very positive. We felt like the DA just really didn't bring their case. They went out there and they just threw something at the wall, hoping it would stick. And I remember during deliberation, I sat there with my family and we just tried to not think about it. We try not to talk about the trial. We just started trying to talk about memories and what we're going to do next week. And I remember it was coming nighttime and the jury has been hung for 12 hours.
Eric Huffman:
In the documentary. Showtime interviewed one of the jurors. He explained how the jury was split 6-6, immediately following the trial. And as the hours went on, they went from 6-6 to 8-4 to 10-2, and then 11-1. That's when he became the lone holdout.
Greg Kelley:
And I remember at that time I was actually helping Patricia put all of her court documents that our files back into her car because we thought we're just going to go home for the night.
Eric Huffman:
It was close to midnight. When the judge told the jury to have friends or family bring them clothes and toiletries, because they would have to be sequestered in a hotel, unable to go home until they reached a unanimous decision. The holdout juror later said this about that night.
Juror:
I feel as though we were pressured not only by the other jurors, but by the judge to come up with a decision. I didn't think that was right.
Eric Huffman:
The pressure worked. He made his decision that night.
Greg Kelley:
One of the bailiffs runs out the County court house and says, "Hey, there's a verdict." We go back to the courtroom 10 minutes later, as the jury members walk out of that deliberation room four bailiffs walk out as well, right before them and go and circle my table and then comes to guilty verdict.
Courtroom nats:
With jury find the defendant, Gregory Kelley, guilty of the offense of super aggravated sexual assault.
Eric Huffman:
Gaebri, were you in the room?
Gaebri Kelley:
I was, yeah, I remember going in there thinking like I'm so ready for it to be over. I'm so excited for what's next. We're going to go celebrate. I was so naive and just had no idea. And I remember them saying guilty and my whole entire body just went numb. I remember hearing screams and Shama actually McCarty screaming and crying. That was such a unexplainable day.
Eric Huffman:
Yeah. Greg how did you react?
Greg Kelley:
I don't even remember the judge saying guilty. I just remember me just banging my head on the table. I remember sliding it up and down and I just said over and over again, I didn't do it. I didn't do it. I didn't do it. And it got louder and louder and I just wanted people to hear me. Nobody was hearing me, nobody was listening to me. I was so red, so mad. I felt like I died. I felt like I was murdered. And I had to say goodbye one last time, my family and I wanted to do it on my terms. And I wanted to blow my kiss and say, "You know what? We're going to keep fighting."
Eric Huffman:
Greg was taken to a holding cell overnight to await sentencing. The next morning, just before the hearing, Greg was allowed to see his family. That's when his attorney walked in and said that the judge would give Greg the minimum sentence of 25 years in prison. If he waived his right to appeal. If Greg had rejected, the judges deal, the jury could have sentenced him to 99 years in prison. He only had five minutes to decide.
Greg Kelley:
And I looked at my family and we started talking and I specifically remember just looking over to my brother and saying, man, I don't want to make decisions anymore. I don't. I just seems like I'm not making the right ones. And I feel like my life's over. What do you guys want me to do? Do you want me to get out when I'm 44 or should I go out there and allow them to maybe potentially send me to prison where I don't ever get out? Do I sentence myself to 25 years and waive my right to appeal my trial? Or do I allow the same jury that just convicted me with absolutely no evidence to go and give me any number between.
Eric Huffman:
I mean, you're already in a frazzled state of mind to say the least, and your mom's probably pressuring you. So whenever people say, well, if he was innocent, he wouldn't have taken the deal. And I don't think true at all until you understand how stacked against you, the deck feels and how, what an uphill climb innocence would be, even if you are innocent, but did it ever cross your mind? Like, did you ever ask in that moment? Like, why are they so afraid of me appealing?
Greg Kelley:
Right. That's a good question. I was never identified at trial. And I remember asking Patricia at that moment, what are my chances to win this thing? What am I chances to appeal this thing? And she simply says, "I don't know." And so I looked to my family and we ultimately, as a group, decide to take 25 years without appealing because I wasn't certain that I would win this thing. You just don't know anymore. Clearly the justice system has failed you and it's completely broken.
Greg Kelley:
How are you going to go and trust it to go and fix itself and to admit that they're wrong? That's not going to happen. It would take a miracle. But at that time, Patricia did not tell me where it mattered the most. She did not tell me that I was never identified at trial. That right there would have got me home in 30 days that would have won my direct appeal.
Eric Huffman:
Yeah. I mean, there's no DNA evidence that you were not living at the house at the time. You were never identified physically. Like there's so much wrong with this.
Greg Kelley:
Yeah.
Gaebri Kelley:
Yeah.
Eric Huffman:
So Gaebri, at this point, are you starting to think maybe I should move on with my life?
Gaebri Kelley:
No, not at all. That's the opposite of what I was thinking. I was thinking, we need to figure this out. We got to fight and we need to get a good attorney and knows that just an uphill fight from there.
Eric Huffman:
Well, Gaebri and Greg's family prepared to keep fighting for justice. Greg began his fight to survive behind bars.
Greg Kelley:
It was terrifying. The life expectancy of a child molester is not years it's days.
Eric Huffman:
What?
Greg Kelley:
No, they get rid of him. I'm telling you, especially in Texas prisons, it's the most scariest and frowned upon thing that you can go to prison for. I found myself having to defend my life each and every day.
Eric Huffman:
Greg remember was hitting rock bottom while sitting alone in his cell, many miles away from everything and everyone he'd ever loved. It was then when he had no one and nothing else that Greg at 18 years of age finally gave God his full attention.
Greg Kelley:
The first time I ever read the Bible cover to cover was my third day in jail. I'm not going to say that I wanted to read it. Like at that point I was still angry. And at that point I had so much hate in my heart, but quite frankly, it was literally the only thing I could read. That's what they give you while you're in there. When you get convicted, all they do is give you, here's a fresh set of clothes. Here's a Bible, here's your towel. And here's some soap. And that was probably the best thing that they could give anybody because I read that thing cover to cover in like two days. And then I read it again a week later, I read it about four times cover to cover, but little did I know my life, my hope and the word, all these seeds were just starting to get planted into my heart. Just to keep going.
Eric Huffman:
What was it that you found in the Bible that gave you that hope?
Greg Kelley:
I started reading it first in the New Testament, just to get to know who Jesus was, what he did. And then I've read the Old Testament, kind of like the history of Jesus. And I love the Old Testament stories of Joseph and Joshua and people like Joseph and Job who really just got tried and tested. And on some cases, wrongfully accused, cast it away for 25 years, 50 years gone for a whole lifetime. And then more towards the end of his, he started receiving everything back seven fold, same thing with Job. So reading those stories was necessary in times like that for me, because I could relate.
Eric Huffman:
Yeah. And if Joseph never went through that, the Israelites wouldn't have had a place to land in Egypt during the family. Like all these things work together in the grand scheme that you don't see in the day-to-day minutia and the day-to-day struggles. And sometimes today's wrongful accusation and today's suffering. It leads to something much greater than you can't even envision yet. Greg settled into his new routine at the Wynne Unit in Huntsville, Texas. He took college classes. He went to chapel every week and he eventually moved into a faith based unit where he was surrounded by other inmates who were Christians.
Greg Kelley:
And they were like, "Man, look, we're not here to judge you brother. I'm sitting here. We want to make sure that you're equipped for what's to come. Not only physically, but also spiritually, because you're going to be going through some spiritual battles."
Eric Huffman:
Were these chaplains.
Greg Kelley:
These were inmates.
Eric Huffman:
Inmates.
Greg Kelley:
These were inmates. These were guys that at one point maybe when they're 18, 19 year old made a mistake, and now they're 40 years old. Those were the guys that were my best friends. I consider them my brothers in Christ. Man, they filled me up with a word. They made sure that hope that I needed never died.
Eric Huffman:
Gaebri, I'm curious as he's inside, starting to serve the sentence was lifelike for you at that point?
Gaebri Kelley:
When he first went in, I was terrified. We didn't get to speak for a while because he had to get into the system and we started off with letters and I was like, I've never written a letter to anybody. Like this is so foreign to me and-
Eric Huffman:
Pen to paper letter.
Gaebri Kelley:
Yes. Oh we have hundreds of letters.
Greg Kelley:
The US Postal Service.
Gaebri Kelley:
Yeah, where you wait a few days to get it. And our relationship, it was so different because I mean, not that our relationship before was all physical, but there was no physical. Like we had none of that, no holding hands, no kissing, none of those things that most relationships almost revolve around. We had to discover this whole other side to our relationship. And it was kind of beautiful in a way. I mean, at first it was super annoying because it was just so hard, but it was beautiful to see, like Greg said, he 100% had this like faith transformation in prison. And I do believe that all those brothers in Christ were angels. And I think they really protected Greg. And I think they taught him so much and it was really beautiful looking back of the transformation we had and how deep we dove into our relationship and how God really became the center of it.
Eric Huffman:
I'd love to hear one of those letters. Is that asking too much?
Gaebri Kelley:
No, yeah. I can do that.
Eric Huffman:
Do you have one, handy?
Gaebri Kelley:
I do have two different ones, but I'll read.
Greg Kelley:
Do you want me to read it because since I'm reading it to you.
Gaebri Kelley:
Do you want to do it with your voice?
Eric Huffman:
Whoever wrote the letter.
Gaebri Kelley:
He wrote the letter.
Greg Kelley:
Okay.
Gaebri Kelley:
Yeah. You wrote it.
Greg Kelley:
I wrote it. I start off saying, "During the summertime here in prison is a hot time of year. One of the greatest ways to mentally leave this place is to take and notice of God's beautiful creation. Even though every inmate never finds time to stop sweating, God's beauty still remains. Every day during the spring and summer, as I came back from work, I would take the long walk from the factory to the building as my coworkers. And I took the long walk. We always pass the beautiful garden that set right outside the landscaping shop. The guard was full of lilies, tulips, roses, and other captivating flowers in the midst of a place I did not belong. I always found victory and imagining that I was picking a beautiful flower and handing it to my Gaebri, explaining to her that I see you as I see this flower, even though the flower is a pleasing image to look at, it has great purpose.
Greg Kelley:
The flower is giving it supplies. The bees with nectar, the flower is enduring as it takes the beatings of the hot sun and the flowers always expecting coming in the summer and leaving in the winter and never changes. God does not just create things to be pleasing to our eye or even to be put into use, but also to prove his existence. It starts with having eyes to see and ears to hear after allowing God to remove a veil that was covering my eyes for so many years. I now see how amazing Jesus Christ is. And I'll see that I, Greg Kelly, along with the whole world was a creation in his image. So now I leave you with a question. If God creates something as beautiful as the sky, animals and flowers, how much more beautiful are you. To Gaebri Anderson. I love you, Greg Kelley."
Gaebri Kelley:
There were hundreds of those.
Greg Kelley:
I can't even believe I wrote this.
Gaebri Kelley:
That's beautiful.
Greg Kelley:
That letter right there as a by-product of when I was seeking God the most in my life. It's a testimony that we should reach each and every day.
Eric Huffman:
Yeah. That's powerful.
Jake Brydon:
My nickname growing up was the mouth of the South from my grandfather that didn't use that in an endearing way. I was the kind of kid that you could be pounded me and I'm still talking crap the entire time. I was a mouthy kid and so [crosstalk 00:48:22].
Eric Huffman:
God wasn't just working on Greg's heart inside that prison. He was working miracles on outside too. Sending two men into Greg's life as guardian angels. One of those men was Jake Brydon, a father of three who owns a construction company in Austin. Jake first heard about Greg on the evening news hours before the jury delivered the verdict.
Jake Brydon:
The Williamson County man on trial for sexual assault will soon learn his fate.
News anchor:
19 year old Gregory Kelly is accused of having a sexual attack with two [crosstalk 00:48:48].
Jake Brydon:
I went to bed and I literally was like, "Lord, if he's guilty, get him convicted. And if he's innocent set him free," as one of those, just little fleeting prayers. And I remember that like it was yesterday because when I woke up the next morning and heard that they had found him guilty, I was like, "Well, I guess that settles it. Man, he must've been really guilty for them to be able to convict him with what I saw on the stand from Dailey. So I went to work that day and I started seeing stuff on social media that was shocking. All people were going, "I can't believe they found them guilty. I can't believe they found him guilty." And I had a buddy called me and said, man, have you heard about the Greg Kelley case? He said, "My daughter went to school with Greg. And she sat through the trial every day and it was awful and just completely lost her faith in the justice system."
Jake Brydon:
I said, "Well, Kevin how'd they get a conviction when this cop sat up there and lied on the stand." He said, "I don't know." And I said, "Well, what are you going to do about it?" He said, "There's nothing we can do." And that bugged me because if that's true, if this kid is innocent and there's nothing that can be done, then this could happen to me. This could happen to my brother, my dad. And I just started thinking along those lines of, well, if we were going to do something, what would we do?
Eric Huffman:
That night Jake turned on the local news again. And that's when he saw his old high school football coach, David Anderson, Gaebri's father reacting to the conviction. He immediately picked up the phone and called coach Anderson, who was convinced that Greg was going to rot in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Jake sense that God was calling him to get involved somehow. In the very next day, Jake arranged a meeting with Greg's mom, Rosa.
Jake Brydon:
I said, Ms. Kelley, I don't know who you are. I don't know anything about your son, but if he's innocent of this, I'll do everything I can to make sure that we get this turned around. And she looked at me and just said, "You're the answer to my prayers." And I'm like, "Oh, I hope not." And I walked into the other room to just kind of evade the pressure. Because she was formerly anointing me in that moment. Like, you're the guy. She's like, "I come from nothing. I have no voice. You have the voice." And I'm like, "Oh great."
Rosa:
I just want to hug my boy and feel his heart beating into my heart. That this one I'm waiting for that hug.
Greg Kelley:
Jake doesn't even know me. He doesn't know my family. He doesn't even know me from Adam. And he literally tells my mom that I'm going to everything in my power. I've been called to this, my spirit grieves for your son, Ms. Kelley. And we're going to do what we can. So he steps in, in every way.
Jake Brydon:
So the first thing that happened was I told David, I said, "Listen, I'll, I'll donate $10,000. That'll get you started. But then you guys are going to have to raise a bunch of money and go hire an attorney." And David called me back that afternoon and said, "Hey, Patricia has gone and dropped off all of her files at Keith Hampton's office. And they're recommending that we hire him for the appellate work." And I said, "Don't do that. Do not go with the person that the defense attorneys recommended, because if she screwed up, he's not going to go there." And Dave goes, "You're a businessman. You got to get ahead on your shoulders, just come with us and let's just go talk to him about it." So we pull up in the driveway of this little law office on a Sunday, and I see this one of these electric style hybrid cars or the big Hillary bumper sticker on the back. And I looked at David and I said, "There's no way, this is our guy. I mean, we're in agreement on that, right?" And he's like, "Yeah, no way."
Jake Brydon:
And then within 10 minutes it was one of those deals that we just knew. He was our guy. It felt very ordained. And the guy's just a genius. And man, did he come through in a major way?
Eric Huffman:
Keith Hampton was Greg's second guardian angel. Jake calls him the Bill Belichick of criminal appellate law. He is defended clients before the US Supreme Court. And he wants even saved a client from the death penalty hours before the lethal injection was administered, keeps only prerequisite for taking a case like Greg's is that he has to believe his client is innocent. Jake also wanted to be certain of Greg's innocence before getting more involved. So he told Keith.
Jake Brydon:
If you think that there's any possibility that he did this, I need you to tell me because I'm stepping out on faith here, but I have not verified anything about this man's character. I know nothing about him and I'm going to ride or die with you because I like the fact that you're not just an attorney for hire that you really care about what happened here. So Keith went inside the jail to meet with Greg and Keith has a way of ... he's got some tests that he runs on people and he can pretty much tell when somebody's got some guilt or innocence and he walks out and he's got a smile on his face. And I sneak out behind and go talk. I said, "What do you think?" He goes, "And not only is he innocent, that's a great young man."
Jake Brydon:
This young man is not guilty of this trial. There was no evidence brought against him that should be allowed in court at all. There's nothing but hearsay, not a single shred of real evidence.
Eric Huffman:
Within a few days of Greg's conviction, Jake armed with a megaphone led a rally outside Leander High School, 200 people showed up in support of Greg.
Jake Brydon:
We got to fight guys. We got to fight this and we can't stop.
Jake Brydon:
And I thought, okay, this is what we have. This is all we have. And let's just see what God can do with that. And he came through in a big way.
Crowd:
Justice for Greg.
Eric Huffman:
That group of supporters grew from hundreds to thousands of people. Most of whom didn't even know Greg. And for nearly three years, as Greg sat in prison, Jake kept the group active with weekly video updates on their Facebook page.
Jake Brydon:
Hello, and thank you for always fighting for Greg Kelly. Today is a very big day. I know you've been patiently waiting for an update, we have a very big one for you [crosstalk 00:55:01].
Jake Brydon:
Hello and good morning. I wanted to take a minute and let everybody know how grateful we are that you've stood with us, that you've supported this foundation, as well as that you have fought for Greg Kelley [crosstalk 00:55:12].
Eric Huffman:
Williamson County officials, perhaps feeling threatened by the group that wouldn't let anyone forget about Greg Kelley publicly accused them of being a court
Jake Brydon:
It was a fate defining time in my life because prior to that I grew up in church. My dad's a pastor, but I had a lot of personal doubt as to what God's involvement in our day-to-day lives actually was. And this was one of those moments in my life where I could tell that no, he's very interested. He's actually involved and he's pulling people together.
Jake Brydon:
Hey, fighters. Tomorrow is the first day of early voting. When we started this, Jana Duty was running a conviction mill. And so true criminals would come in, they'd plead guilty. They get very light sentences. And anybody that bucked that system paid the price. At this point, going forward what we care about in Williamson County more than anything is that we have elected officials that listen to people, not label them [crosstalk 00:56:11].
Eric Huffman:
In 2016, Jake encouraged Greg supporters to vote for Shawn Dick to replace Jana Duty. The district attorney who was responsible for prosecuting Greg's case, Shawn won the election, which opened the door for Greg's new lawyer, Keith Hampton, to present all the new evidence that he'd unearthed since Greg's conviction.
Greg Kelley:
So I gave up my opportunity to appeal my trial, but not to find new evidence. And at that point, Keith, he wanted to make sure that every stone was flipped over. So he dug into my life even more. They took my cell phone away. Something that never really got looked into that proved that I was never at that house. I moved out a month before and accounted for every day that I could not have done this crime. I was actually not there through GPS coordinates on my photos, my text messages and the actual date that they said, this assault took place. I was actually driving to my brother's house who lives 40 minutes away helping him move the whole day. So-
Eric Huffman:
Stuck in traffic I remember.
Greg Kelley:
Stuck in traffic, taking a selfie, send it to Gabe saying how frustrated I am stuck in traffic. And so Keith actually did the legwork that the Cedar Park Police Department did not do to prove innocence.
Eric Huffman:
Keith gathered all the new evidence, proving Greg's innocence and presented it to the new DA in the form of a writ. Unlike Jana Duty, Shawn Dick was open to the idea that Williamson County may have put the wrong man in prison and that a child molester could still be on the loose. So we asked the Texas Rangers to do an independent investigation to verify Keith's findings, essentially reopening the case.
Shawn Dick:
Particularly, I'm interested to hear the defense Patricia Cummings. And I'm interested to hear the Cedar Park Police Department and I just hear how the investigation went along and what their thought process was going through this. To me, this really is a search for the truth.
News anchor:
A district judge issued a bench warrant ordering Greg Kelley to leave the state prison in Huntsville and returned to Williamson County for an upcoming hearing.
Eric Huffman:
On August 2nd, 2017, three years into his 25 year prison sentence, Greg had one final chance to prove his innocence in the same courtroom where he originally stood condemned
News anchor:
Today the first day of a three-day hearing as former Leander High School football star Greg Kelley, begins his quest to have his conviction for a child sex crime overturned.
Eric Huffman:
Greg's fate was in the hands of State District Judge Donna King. Which she uphold his conviction, order a new trial or declare him innocent.
Donna King:
All right, good afternoon. This is Case 13-1367-K26A, ex parte Gregory Raymond Kelley. All right, Mr. Hampton, are you ready to proceed?
Keith Hampton:
I am Judge. The purpose of this hearing is to bring in the stuff that we haven't examined.
Eric Huffman:
During the writ hearing, the Texas Ranger assigned to Greg's case revealed that there were now three suspects, including Jonathan McCarty, Shama son the one who looks a lot like Greg. At the time of the hearing, Jonathan was behind bars for unrelated charges. I mean, there was a facial resemblance that is undeniable, which really adds more mystery to why in the world he was never questioned or considered a suspect in this case, he lived in the house and all of that is shocking to me, especially considering that while you were in prison, Jonathan McCarty raped a 15 year old girl. And I couldn't help thinking that if the police had been looking into him initially, like they probably should have, that could have been prevented as well. He was released in February. Still hasn't been investigated as far as I know for the initial crime against the young boy, I imagine that's got to be infuriating for you both.
Gaebri Kelley:
Absolutely.
Greg Kelley:
It is.
News anchor:
KSAN has obtained a letter from police chief, Sean Mannix shortly after Kelley was convicted. It defends the investigation and explains why no other suspects were sought out. He says, detectives stayed focused on Kelley because that's how a proper investigation is conducted. He went on to say, when a small child makes an honest outdrive that someone molested them and named their known attacker, it would be gross incompetence to try to take them down a different path.
News anchor:
Family and friends of Greg Kelly say it's just a matter of time before he comes home because of the evidence.
Shawn Dick:
I knew all these facts at that time, he would not have been tried in the first place.
News anchor:
Williamson County District Attorney, Shawn Dick says the facts don't point to Kelley.
News anchor:
Judge Donna King today asked attorneys to get her information that she needs to make a decision about his bond. Judge King is also going to be working on recommendations that she will make to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals about whether or not to overturn Greg Kelley's conviction or even to possibly declare him innocent.
Eric Huffman:
The writ hearing lasted three days. And in the end Judge Donna King ruled that Greg was innocent, that his trial attorney, Patricia Cummings had been ineffective and that he was denied due process by deficient police investigation. After spending 1,153 days behind bars, Greg Kelley was released on bond. He walked out of prison wearing a T-shirt that read, my story, his glory.
Greg Kelley:
It's been a sad its ups and downs in the past three years. And that's a new beginning for me. I know it's not over yet, but we're going to continue fighting and the truth will prevail. And I just thank the DA's office, the judge to give me an open mind to allow me to finally come home to my family. And I just want to go home.
Eric Huffman:
But Greg was far from a free man. Now we had to wait for nine judges on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to determine if they agreed with Judge King's ruling. But Greg and his family knew there was a good chance he would be heading back to prison since the appeals court rarely overturned the conviction. While he waited, Greg wasn't allowed to move forward with his life. He couldn't work or even apply to college. He couldn't play football. Any plans that he wanted to make for his future were put on hold.
Eric Huffman:
What was that like to just be waiting in a holding pattern?
Greg Kelley:
It was like a dark cloud over my life. I mean, I already know what it feels like to be torn away from my family. And now I'm kind of getting a glimpse of hope that the truth is going to be revealed. I'm now home. And I get to be home while we continue to fight. But in some sense on a psychological level and an emotional level, it's even more painful because I'm getting a taste of what it feels like to laugh with your family, to sit down and have a dinner with them. But at the same time, it's like this little scene in the back of your head. Like what if, what happened to me happens again, it's going to make it even more painful. It was always that feeling in the pit of your stomach like, will all this be taken away again, if they do the wrong thing.
Eric Huffman:
Greg lived with that pit in his stomach for over two years.
Greg Kelley:
It was from the very beginning of me getting released that every Wednesday at 9:00 AM. We checked that Court of Criminal Appeals handout list to see if I'm it as relief granted or in the worst case for me to go back to prison. And we did that for like 80 something weeks straight and November 6th of 2019 at 9:01 AM I remember [crosstalk 01:03:33].
Gaebri Kelley:
9:01.
Eric Huffman:
Eastern Time.
Gaebri Kelley:
Yeah.
Greg Kelley:
Eastern Time. Specifically Gaebri and I, we were living in New York at the time she was up there participating in a professional semester at the Broadway Dance Center, continuing her dance education. And I turned on my little Firestick. I went to the Court of Criminal Appeals website and I knew that if I was going to be exonerated by the Court of Criminal Appeals, I was going to be at the very top of the list under the category relief granted. And right when I pulled that up, I just scroll down maybe three inches and it said relief granted. And then, all right under it said, Gregory Raymond Kelley.
Eric Huffman:
Wow.
Greg Kelley:
Really granted. Thank God. [inaudible 01:04:32]. Woo man. I broke down. I felt more free than I've ever felt in my life.
Eric Huffman:
I can only imagine, did you call Gaebri right away?
Greg Kelley:
So we had this thing where we talked about it and while she was in class, I would actually text her and emoji of a bunch of birds. And that meant freedom.
Eric Huffman:
Freedom.
Greg Kelley:
And I actually, I remember specifically typing it over and over and over again. And she immediately ran out of class. She ran out back my apartment and we embraced each other.
Gaebri Kelley:
I ran so fast [inaudible 01:05:24].
Greg Kelley:
[inaudible 01:05:24].
Gaebri Kelley:
Thank God.
Greg Kelley:
Thank God.
Eric Huffman:
Gaebri, how'd you feel?
Gaebri Kelley:
That was the best text message I've ever gotten in my life. I can say that. I was literally running down the streets of New York. Like my stuff was falling out of my bags. I don't even know where that stuff went and ran in and hugged him. And it just felt like the biggest weight had been lifted off our shoulders. And we were finally able to go on with life after all these year and we can have a future together. And I was just, honestly, the happiest day.
News anchor:
He served. He's been out on bond now for a couple of years while this whole appeals process has played out. And today that came to an end. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has just ruled in his favor, overturning the guilty verdict against him, essentially saying Greg Kelley didn't do it.
News anchor:
The formerly Leander High School football player convicted of sexually assaulting a child will not go back to prison.
News anchor:
A Major decision today from the state's highest criminal court undoes the conviction of Greg Kelley and clears his name once and for all
Eric Huffman:
This is Keith Hampton reacting to the news.
Keith Hampton:
When I read, I had to read the phrase relief granted two or three times before I punched my cell phone. First call will, of course, was to Greg. I just needed to reassure him that everyone on the Court of Criminal Appeals voted in favor of granting him relief. At least he can move on. He's been in limbo. He's been checking in with a bondsman for the last two and a half years. He couldn't play ball. He suffered his last two years.
Eric Huffman:
On November 27th, 2019, Greg and Gaebri were back in Texas for Greg's exoneration hearing where judge King officially declared his innocence.
Donna King:
I declare you innocent and that you are fully exonerated.
Eric Huffman:
And Greg who was then 24 years old, gave his emotional testimony.
Greg Kelley:
The night I was convicted and thrown into a cell just in this County jail right next door, I was scared for my life. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what my fate was. I didn't know if I was going to be alive to see my family. I was absolutely terrified of prison. Now it's putting that cell, surrender my life to Jesus Christ, a desperate guy to hear me. I knew nothing about him. Couldn't call a scripture. Couldn't tell you who Jesus was. Day after day I started on myself all over. I fell in love with getting to know Jesus through his word because he was a place I could find that peace [inaudible 01:08:55]. I asked Him to saved me. He did every bit of that, there on that cell floor. Now here this morning. You asked me how I did. It was solely love you use Christ.
Greg Kelley:
James 2 through 4 says, consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. That perseverance finish its work that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. God has the ability to change the situation. A lot in a heart. A story is His word. Thank you
Jake Brydon:
We're not finished yet. We started with a promise of number one, exoneration for Greg. Number two, hold the people accountable that did this to Greg. And there's a lot of pending litigation right now. So we're not going to finish until we complete it because the third part was to make sure it couldn't happen to anybody else in this community. And if we don't make an example out of those guys, then all we've done is we've saved one person, but we haven't fixed the problem.
Eric Huffman:
There's something profound about what Jake did for Greg. Something godly. Remember Jake isn't a lawyer. He works in construction. He runs a business and takes care of his family. And he didn't even know Greg before seeing his story on the local news. Most people would have just changed the channel, but Jake changed the life. And Jake's calling to seek justice didn't end with Greg Kelly. Today, he's fighting for others that he believes have been wrongfully accused. And he's working to educate jurors about the threshold of proof that a guilty verdict requires. What was it like for you though, even before you received your justice to wake up every morning and just feel like your life was wasting away in the prime years as an athlete, as a football player, even after you got exonerated, looking back to the time wasted, how do you get over that?
Greg Kelley:
I get over it by knowing that my story and my life was written a long time ago. I look at my life like a chapter book where in the beginning of the book, Greg Kelley was a high school kid playing football, hoping to get out of Leander Texas and play ball. But his life gets completely derailed, has to face this injustice. This nightmare had a fight for his life, with a beautiful family by his side, who believed in him, a town divided, being painted as a monster, but gets to see his time in court. Six years later, proving his innocence, trying to get football back now, going to college, but you cannot control the cards that are dealt to you in life. But what you can do is how you react to them. For a long time, I had the question of why, why is this happening to me? Why, why, why?
Greg Kelley:
And until I started using, what is God trying to show me in this situation? And when I started asking that question, I knew that I was being filled with strength to get through this trial that is actually promised to us in the word, Jesus actually tells his disciples that in this world you will have trouble, but he says to take heart in him because he's overcome the world. Well, a lot of people, they get falsely accused or wrongfully convicted. They either kill themselves in prison. They give up and they serve the rest of their time with an innocent person. But that's not what happened in my case, what happened in my case is that we chose to fight and have faith. And at the end of this, we saw the other side and now we can glorify God to the whole world on what he did.
Eric Huffman:
Is that what forgiveness looks like for you after everything y'all have been through? I mean, some people think forgiveness means a sweet encounter and reconciliation with those who wronged you, it sounds like forgiveness to you means glorifying God in spite of everything.
Greg Kelley:
Yeah. It's literally choosing to put on Christ each and every morning. It's choosing to take those thoughts captive and crucify yourself to the cross each and every day, because myself I want it to go and hoop and holler and maybe cuss everybody out. It's the human nature in me to go and throw a pity party and say, "You know what? You took all this from me," but I'm choosing to do it in a righteous way. I'm choosing to do it and holding people accountable that don't want to take responsibility for their actions because accountability at the end of the day is everything. Jesus, He loves us very much, but at the same time, He expects us to hold ourselves accountable each and every day to pick up our cross. And what that means is to count the cost and get out there and be a light to the world. That's exactly what it looks like to me is forgiveness is not just for the people that did me wrong, but it's for me to continue to go and live the life that is fully free.
Eric Huffman:
Amen. Just a few months after his miracle exoneration, Greg and Gaebri were married in Austin, Texas, surrounded by everyone who stood by them through their eight year ordeal.
Gaebri Kelley:
The best decision of my life was sticking by your side and fighting for you, fighting for us. I'm so proud of you and so happy we never gave up on us. I love you GK.
Greg Kelley:
You are a gift from God to make me a better man every day, about to cherish your heart and guard it with due diligence. I will make it my mission to have an overflow with confidence that I love you with all of mine, about to keep these promises, write them on my heart and to measure myself daily until death do us part.
Eric Huffman:
Both of Greg's guardian angels played a role in their wedding. Jake officiated the ceremony.
Jake Brydon:
Well, with the power vested in me, by the great State of Texas, God and the Court of Criminal Appeals. I pronounced you man and wife, Greg, you may kiss your bride.
Eric Huffman:
And Keith Hampton announced the couple for the first time as husband and wife.
Keith Hampton:
It's my pleasure to give to you for the first time anywhere Mr. And Mrs. Greg Kelley.
Eric Huffman:
And two months ago at age 25, Greg finally got the chance to fulfill his dream of playing division one football by earning a full scholarship from Eastern Michigan university.
Jake Brydon:
If you look at Greg story now from a thousand foot view, it's a really cool story. And Greg is going to get to walk through the rest of his life never doubting his creator's love for him because there was mountains moved for him to feel that love. And you know what, that's probably what it would have taken for Greg to feel that love.
Eric Huffman:
When Andrea, Julie and the rest of our Maybe God team decided to tell Greg story I envisioned an episode about a broken legal system, corrupt officials in power and an innocent man's plea for justice. I never imagined we'd be telling a love story, but then I saw how Gaebri looks at Greg, how she never left his side. Even during his three year prison stay. And I saw love. Then I heard the pain in Rose's voice, the deep agony of a mother who's baby's in trouble. And I heard love. I witnessed two guardian angels putting their lives on hold to restore an innocent man's good name. And it was so clear that love was the reason, their innate love of justice of seeing the truth win. How does love move through prison walls? How does a mother's love move mountains? How's it possible for someone to love a person they've never met? Maybe it's because we've all been made in God's image and maybe God is love. I can't make sense of it all in my head, but in my heart, I just know one thing, Greg Kelley is a free man because of love.
Eric Huffman:
This episode of Maybe God was produced by Andrea Gentle, Julie Mirlicourtois and Eric and Geovanna Huffman. Our phenomenal editors are Shannon Stephan and Justin Mayer. Maybe God's photographer and social media guru is Kat Brough. Thanks for listening everybody.

Read More >>