Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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July 16, 2010

Wife gives details of alleged kidnapping at husband’s hearing

BLUEFIELD – A Kegley area woman testified Thursday at her husband’s preliminary hearing that he repeatedly hit her with different objects and would not let her leave their home until a trip to a store for cigarettes gave her a chance to call for help.

Jimmy Ray Kelly Sr., 54, was arrested July 9 on charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, malicious wounding and domestic battery. Judge Omar Aboulhosn of the Mercer County Circuit Court later denied a motion to set bond. Kelly is now incarcerated at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver.

Kelly was brought Thursday before Magistrate Roy Compton for a preliminary hearing. After hearing the testimony of three witnesses, Compton ruled that there was probable cause and forwarded the case to the October session of the Mercer County Grand Jury.

Sgt. Gary Woods of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department testified that on July 9 he received a telephone call from a Kegley store employee that a woman with bruises on her face and arms came in and asked him to call police, giving him her cell phone number and address.

Woods said he called the number and got more information from the woman, Betsy Kelly, while pretending to be a delivery person. He asked questions that could be answered with “no” and “yes” so anybody listening would not know the conversation’s topic. Woods and Cpl. S.A. Sommers went to the home, a single wide trailer on Reese Harmon Ridge Road.

Betsy Kelly had bruises on both her arms and face, Woods said. Sommers spoke with her outside while Woods spoke with Jimmy Kelly Sr., who was arrested a few minutes later and taken to the sheriff’s department in Princeton. A rubber mallet was taken from the home and Sommers, the case’s lead investigator, obtained a search warrant before returning to the residence.

When asked by defense attorneys David Kelly (no relation to Kelly) and David Smith to summarize a statement their client gave to Sommers, Woods said: “Mr. Kelly pretty much gave his own spin on the circumstances, trying to put her in an unsavory light. He said she was on medicine and said ‘If I had hit her with a rubber mallet, that is nuts because as big as I am I would have killed her.’”

The store employee testified that Betsy Kelly — who he did not know — entered the store and told him that her husband had been hitting her and needed to call for help “because he was going to kill her.”

“She was scared, she was very scared,” he said, adding later that he then called the sheriff’s department directly.

Taking her turn on the witness stand, Betsy Kelly said that she and her husband had argued about getting water, which they must haul to their home, off their truck. He was also angry because she would not accompany him to a doctor’s appointment.

She said that they had previous arguments during which he would hit her once, but this instance was different. He hit her repeatedly with his fist and objects such as a hockey stick and a cane, and cutting her under the chin with a pocketknife.

“Like I said, it was a side of him I’d never seen,” she said.

Betsy Kelly then testified that her husband pushed her into a bath tub she had just filled, and pushed her back in when she tried to get out. She said that he grabbed an electric curling iron, but was “too busy trying to get out of the tub to see if he was trying to throw it in (to the water.)” She said she then grabbed the metal curtain rod and “knocked things” off the wall with it while fighting back, but did not hit him.

While being cross examined by the defense, Betsy Kelly said she did not see her husband plug up the curling iron or knew for certain what he planned to do with it.

During cross examination, Betsy Kelly said she had depression and anxiety disorders, and took aspirin to thin her blood because she had blocked arteries in her neck. She said she bruised easily, but added that her husband’s blows had put bruises on her head and neck.

The defense argued Thursday that she now did not have any marks on her and that there were inconsistencies with her statement. It was also argued that a kidnapping charge should not stand because she could have left the home. Betsy Kelly said her husband kept her from leaving, stating that they went to the Kegley store for cigarettes because she was not known there.

Magistrate Compton found probable cause and bound the case over to the October session of the Mercer County Grand Jury.

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