Former Trooper captain facing civil rights charge

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The former captain of the Alabama State Trooper post in Birmingham was charged in federal court with one count of depriving a person of their civil rights on Sept. 25 in connection with a 2007 incident in Pelham.

The charge came after Assistant U.S. Attorney Staci Cornelius filed a document in U.S. District Court naming 51-year-old Helena resident Keith Wilson Kelley. The complaint alleges Kelley, while serving as the captain of the Birmingham Alabama State Trooper Post, coerced an individual identified as “C.C.” to “perform sexual acts by making false threats.”

The charge claims Kelley “did willfully deprive C.C. of a right secured and protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States, specifically, the right to due process of law, which includes the right to bodily integrity.”

According to District Court documents, Kelley is scheduled to be arraigned on the misdemeanor depravation of civil rights charge during an Oct. 16 hearing at the Hugo L. Black U.S. Courthouse at 9:30 a.m. in front of Judge Harwell Davis III.

One of Kelley’s attorneys, Tommy Spina, said the charge was filed one day before the five-year statute of limitations ran out on the case.

“Quite frankly, we thought it was over with,” Spina said, noting fellow attorney Barry Alvis also has been representing Kelley over the past five years. “We were very surprised that this was filed at the 11th hour without anyone picking up the phone and calling either one of us.”

Spina said the charge came after prosecutors filed an “information” document in District Court.

“An information means that the case was not presented to a grand jury,” Spina said. “Every citizen has an absolute right to have their case heard by a grand jury.”

Kelley was previously arrested in September 2007 and charged with first-degree sodomy and first-degree sexual abuse after he turned himself in to Pelham police. At the time of the arrest, prosecutors claimed Kelley threatened to take a 20-year-old woman to jail if she didn’t perform a sexual act on him.

Kelley was fired from his position with the Alabama Department of Public Safety shortly after the incident.

According to Shelby County Circuit Court documents, Kelley pleaded guilty in 2011 to one count of misdemeanor sexual misconduct related to the 2007 incident, and was sentenced to two years of probation.