Greg Kelley, a former Texas high school player wrongly convicted of sexually molesting a four-year-old child three years ago, said he was ‘labelled a monster’ throughout his ordeal.
‘I was labeled a monster, and you would see one out of every two people I interacted with on a daily basis talk terrible about me,’ said Kelley, who spoke out in a new interview.
‘Now that I’ve been exonerated, people’s eyes started to open and not just follow accusations and the reports on the news. I’ve had a lot of people say they’re sorry and that they’re so happy for me,’ Kelley explained.
‘It feels good to hear that because it’s opened a lot of people’s eyes to not be so judgmental.’
Kelley, who played high school football in Leander 25 miles north of Austin and was going to jail for a least 25 years after he was found guilty of two counts of super aggravated sexual assault against the young victim in April 2017, made his comments to the DailyBeast Sunday.
The ordeal he described is portrayed in Outcry, a five-part docuseries by filmmaker Pat Kondelis, which aired on Showtime last month. Kondelis spent more than two years following Kelley’s story, including when his conviction was overturned due to actual innocence.
The docuseries maker was a resident of Williamson County, Texas, where the allegations were made against Kelley and was approached by a friend to look into the case. Kelley with financial assistance from a Jake Brydon, a local activist, also hired a new lawyer, Keith Hampton.
It was a Hampton’s writ of habeas corpus that uncovered new evidence which led to Kelley’s exoneration.
‘I’m so grateful because at that time, I didn’t want a documentary made about me—I needed one made,’ Kelley said after Kondelis took up the job.
‘I didn’t know if the CCA, the Court of Criminal Appeals, or anybody else handling my case would do the wrong thing again and send me back. Just in case they wanted to do something bad we had this to show the world and say, hey, our system is really messed up.’
Kelley, who accepted a 25-year sentence to avoid life in prison after his conviction, had initially been arrested for abusing the victim on August 9, 2013. Kelley was 18 at the time.
The victim, according to authorities, had said that Kelley twice had ‘put his pee-pee’ in his mouth on separate occasions at a daycare operated by the mother of one of his friends, Jonathan McCarty.
Shama McCarty was also a booster of the Leanders Lions, the local football team which can draw a crowd of 10,000 per game on a Friday night, the DailyBeast reported.
Shama had allowed Kelley to stay with her family in Cedar Rapids after his mother came down with a brain tumor. Kelley’s father already had suffered a debilitating stroke.
After the first victim, a second child came forward making the same allegation, according to cops. That’s when Shama encouraged Kelley’s family to hire attorney defense attorney Patricia Cummings.
‘When I got Patricia I thought, OK, we’re going to get the truth out there and I’ll get to go back to playing football. But the way she handled the case was completely backwards,’ Kelley said.
During the case, clues also had come up pointing to Johnathan as a possible suspect, who also is similar in appearance to Kelley, reported DailyBeast.
Hampton would later present to the court after Kelley’s conviction that he was not living at the home where the abuse happened and was busy helping his brother move when the child was victimized.
Jonathan also owned SpongeBob Squarepants pajamas, which the first victim alleged his attacker wore. Additionally, Johnathan’s bedroom had a couch, crib and trophies, as described by the same child.
It was also found that police had ‘backtracked’ the suspected date of the assault to match when the football star was staying in the McCarty home.
More findings presented by Hampton showed child pornography was found on Johnathan’s cell phone and computer; that he was accused of raping and drugging four women while Kelley was in jail; and two witnesses claimed they heard Johnathan confess to abusing the victim.
Johnathan ended up serving time in jail for sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl. He currently works for a landscaping company in Texas, Screenrant reported.
Kelley said he couldn’t believe what was revealed about Johnathan, DailyBeast reported.
‘He was like my younger brother, but man, it’s like I didn’t know this guy at all,’ said Kelley.
‘I do believe that Jonathan did it,’ Kelley explained. ‘At first, it was very hard for me to accept that but as time went on, and the investigation that should’ve happened happened, stones got turned over and evidence came to light that really should’ve come to light in the first place.’
‘I think Jonathan has a lot of questions to answer and the way that things went about was absolutely sketchy on his part. I want him to come forward and tell the whole story,’ Kelley added.
‘It’s not just about wrongfully convicting somebody—it’s about the other victims,’ Kelley added. ‘Hearing that he victimized more people while I went to prison, that’s what really disgusts me with the whole system and this whole deal.’
Kelley is now married to his high school sweetheart, Gaebri Anderson, who stood by him during the allegations he was exonerated for. She was 17 at the time of her now husband’s conviction.
She told The New York Post : ‘It was crazy.’
‘I had friends since I was a baby who were saying, ”I can’t believe you are sticking by him,”’ she explained.
‘From the first day in my heart, I knew he didn’t do this.’