Trial set for Helena couple charged with aggravated child abuse

Published 11:32 am Wednesday, February 20, 2019

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – A Helena couple charged with aggravated family child abuse after allegedly torturing, willfully abusing and maltreating their 14-year-old adopted son are set to stand trial on the charges in early April, according to scheduling documents filed in Shelby County Circuit Court.

Richard Kelly

Richard Hobson Kelly and Cynthia Rogers Kelly, who both list an address in the 3000 block of Spruce Drive in Helena, were arrested on Nov. 14, 2016 by the Helena Police Department and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and charged with one count each of aggravated family child abuse.

Cynthia Kelly

The Kelly’s are set to stand trial on the abuse charges in front of Circuit Court Judge William Bostick beginning on April 8. The Kelly’s are set to appear in court for a pre-trial docket call on Feb. 25, followed by a court appearance for a plea date on March 18.

According to their indictments filed in April 2017, the Kelly’s allegedly, “Did on or between November 1, 2014, to November 12, 2016, torture, willfully abuse, cruelly beat, or otherwise willfully maltreat said child over the period of two years to a closed off room in the basement with a locked door for 23 hours a day with limited to no access to social interaction; further, that was only allowed a box spring to sleep on; further, that was only fed one meal a day and that food and nourishment was withheld to the point that the victim was admitted on the date of Nov. 12, 2016, to the hospital suffering from extreme malnourishment, shock, hypothermia and dehydration to the point of near death and presented with abrasions on his knees, lips, ears and ankles, did such act which caused serious physical injury.”

At a press conference held at Helena City Hall on Nov. 15, 2016 Helena Police Chief Pete Folmar thanked the officers and investigators involved with the case and said, “For many of them, this is the most disturbing case that they have seen in their careers.”

After spending more than seven months in the Shelby County Jail, the Kelly’s were released on July 5, 2017 after Bostick granted an order to amend their bail from $1 million to $100,000 a piece.

Aggravated family child abuse is a Class B felony, and is punishable by up to 20 years in prison upon conviction, according to Alabama law.