Judge rules notorious murder suspect Ricky Kelly can face potent - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Judge rules notorious murder suspect Ricky Kelly can face potential death penalty

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LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – Ricky Kelly, one of Kentucky's most notorious murder suspects -- once charged with complicity in the slayings of eight men -- will face a potential death penalty in an upcoming trial.

A Jefferson Circuit Court judge on Thursday overruled a motion from Kelly's attorneys to exclude the death penalty on claims prosecutors had repeatedly failed to turn over evidence and the case had unfairly dragged on for several years.

Defense attorneys had argued that prosecutors have taken Kelly on a legal "odyssey," moving the case from state court to federal court and back again, while dropping all but one of the murder charges in the last five years.

But while Judge Angela McCormick Bisig wrote she was "sympathetic" to Kelly's arguments about how long the case was taking to wind through the courts, she said prosecutors were not totally at fault, pointing out that Kelly had changed attorneys, causing a delay.

In addition, the judge ruled that there is "no specific legal authority" for the court to remove a possible death penalty punishment for alleged delays.

And Bisig ruled that none of the delays in turning over evidence "were a result of intentional misconduct or wrongful behavior" by prosecutors.

"As a result, the court finds an order and dismissing the death penalty would be inappropriate," the judge ruled.

Kelly is now facing one murder charge, for the August 2005 slaying of LaJuante Jackson.

Prosecutors say Kelly killed Jackson to protect a drug trafficking organization, shooting him more than 10 times.

Originally, Kelly, was charged with complicity to eight murders in 2010. But those charges were dropped in 2013 and the case moved to federal court. The case came back to state court in 2014 after the death of a key witness who was set to testify against Kelly in the Jackson case. The testimony is not as crucial in state court.

The trial date for the Jackson murder has been set for April 2016.

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